Liton Kumar Das always remained the ‘next big thing’ of Bangladesh cricket since making his Test debut against India.
The right-handed batsman proved his worth with a face saving 95 runs against Zimbabwe but still failed to cross the magical three-digit mark in Test.
Liton, whose participation in Test match was doubtful due to the wrist injury that forced him to skip the majority part of the Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier League T20 and even prompted team management to include Nurul Hasan as his back up, showed great character to help the tourist post a reasonable total on the board after they were struggling at 132 as he added 138 runs.
Liton along with Mahmudullah added 138 runs for the seventh wicket to bring the tourist back into the game but more importantly made sure that he repays back the faith that team management is keeping on him despite his inability to score a big hundred so far in Test.
‘’We were all quite disappointed for him(Liton) that he didn’t get the hundred. I think this is a good learning for him,’’ Bangladesh newly appointed batting consultant Ashwell Prince said after the game.
“I have only been here for a week. I think we have some highly skilled players in this team. Liton is one of those guys. We have had some conversations during the week. He shared that sometimes he gives his wicket away in the 30s and 40s, due to lack of concentration. I told him, if he can bat for more than three hours, forgetting about the score which is on 30 or 40, he’d be close to a hundred. I would like to see how many hours he batted today. We were all quite disappointed for him that he didn’t get the hundred. I think this is a good learning for him,’’ he said.Bangladesh batsmen were troubled by the opponent bowlers and were finding it hard it to drive the ball as the wicket seemed to carry more bounce and pace than they are usually accustomed with at home.
Mominul Haque, who decided to counter-attack, along with others opted to play square the wicket against the four-man pace attack of the host led by Blessing Muzarabani.
However, Liton had other ideas and he made a statement by playing two cover drives on the up against right-arm pace bowler Victor Nyauchi inside three deliveries in an over to announce his arrival.
While his team mates were struggling going into the front foot against the moving deliveries, he never shied away from it that certainly seemed to be some kind of a shock for the Zimbabweans considering they were finding it hard to trouble him.
Liton, who is known for his flamboyant drives and cuts, looked desperate to enhance his pinch-hitting skills in the recent past but he get into the skin of his character in white dress and refrain from playing anything in the air.
Whenever the ball was pitched short he went back quickly and late cut he played against left-arm spinner Milton Shumba at the last moment going on top of it only proved one thing- class is permanent form is temporary.
The form of Liton is longer format is certainly not disappointing considering he scored nine fifties in his 25-match Test career but considering the immense talent that he possesses his scores hardly reflects his ability.
It was the second time in his career that he missed out the opportunity of making his maiden Test hundred after crossing nineties and once he make that happen he is expected to delivers big scores in whites more often than not.
For the moment he needs to cross the mental barrier and raise his batting making as more will surely follow sooner than later.