Ashraf used to fix the bats for some of the biggest names in Indian cricket – be it Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli.
Before the hard times hit, Ashraf fixed the bats for some of the biggest names in Indian cricket be it Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Australia’s Steve Smith, South Africa’s Faf du Plessis or West Indies’s Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard – all have had their bats tinkered by him.
It is not wrong to say that in many ways, Ashraf was one of the most valuable support staff for all these batsmen. He used to fix broken bats, remake them, shave off wood to reduce weight, or trim the handle edges as per demands every individual batsman.
However, for the past few weeks, Ashraf has been admitted to a suburban Mumbai hospital with health complications because of a series of issues linked to his kidney stones & other ailments.
Prashant Jethmalani, his contemporary for 15 years, has been helping him by raising funds for his treatment.
“His situation is not good. There was some kidney stone-related problem, which has resurfaced again and there are other complications too. The lockdown means his business took a major hit as cricket has completely come to standstill in the city. He doesn’t have funds; whatever he has, it’s over,” Jethmalani said.
“We managed around two lakhs but we need more. We also want to raise some funds for him for his sustenance in the near future,” he added.
The lockdown cost him major business lows, that resulted in his poor financial condition. Things took a turn for the worse earlier when his elder brother passed away two months ago.
It is a lesser-known fact that Ashraf has even helped some players without charging them a penny. In 2016, when West Indies played a T20 World Cup game in Mumbai, Ashraf donated 16 bats to the entire squad.
“Nobody is asking for bats these days and with IPL happening abroad, there will be no work for Ashraf. The sad part is that many players owe him money but they haven’t paid him yet. Ashraf to date has never asked money from them,” Jethmalani said.
Ashraf has made bats for these cricketers for a long time now. It was these bats all these cricketers scored their winning sixes from. Prashant has urged these cricketers to help the man whose accurate craftsmanship helped them in their time of need.