Bangladesh opening batsman Liton Kumar Das eventually proved at the big stage with a scintillating hundred (121 runs) against India in the final of the Asia Cup.
Liton, who is considered to be one of the most talented batsmen of his time failed to showcase his talent in full scale despite being in the team for quite some time. As a result, he remained out of the opening spot for the ODI squad since October 2017 after the debacle in South Africa but somehow managed to keep his place in Tests and T20Is.
Liton’s match-winning knock in the third and final T20I against West Indies coupled with prolonged lean patch of Anamul Haque prompted the management to provide the dashing right-hander with an opportunity in the ongoing Asia Cup tournament.
The unexpected departure of Tamim Iqbal after the opening game looked to have taken some time for him to understand his role in the team that is often been regarded as someone who will support Tamim at the other end.
Despite his repeated failure, the only time he looked to have been close to his own self in terms of his caliber as a batsman was during his innings against Afghanistan in the Super Four, when he scored a quick fire 41 runs before getting out simply because of his impatience.
However, it seemed he kept everything for the big day as he scored his maiden hundred against India at a full packed Dubai International Stadium and most importantly took the responsibility of playing the role of senior partner as Tigers opted to experiment with untested Mehidy Hasan at the top.
There were times when he took the gamble of going against the bowlers to release the pressure but apart from the instance when Chahal dropped him inside the 30-yard circle after the batsman picked up a fifty, it was almost flawless. However, his innings was laced with 12 fours and two huge sixes from 117 balls.
There were times when his patience was tested and he managed to keep his cool under the heat and humid condition as he looked determined to seize the opening spot that is quite open as one after another openers are tried in recent past but none were able to make it count,
The return of Liton Das in the shorter format was largely due to the repeated failure of Soumya Sarkar at the top in the T20Is and he managed to grab the opportunity with both hands in the final of three-match T20I series against West Indies as he fired with a 31-ball 62 to help Bangladesh clinch series by 19 runs through the Duckworth-Lewis method in Lauderhill.
Liton’s innings consisted flurry of shots that is believed to be the reason he was picked in the ODI squad but at the same time it also put a question mark regarding the opening partners role in the team after Tamim is said to be playing the anchor role.
Liton could not manage to score big during the two-match Test series despite getting starts and also in the first two T20Is but his maiden fifty-turned-hundred in the white-ball cricket will surely play a role in lifting his confidence. But whether trying to play this over aggressive brand of cricket suits his style is yet to be determined.
According to many, it is high time for Liton to shed the self-doubts and translate his potential into performances in the middle as he had often been carried away after doing all the hard work before he made a career-saving hundred at least for the time being.
It seemed his role was clear and that was half the job done as when Nazmul Hossain or Soumya Sarkar was playing it looked he was in two minds whether he will take the charge or will wait for the other opener to come out of his shell, but with Mehidy, who came to open for the first time, Liton was sure that he needs to take all the initiative with the stop gap arrangement at the other end.