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‘Five to seven minutes of knocking’

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 16 March, 2023 12:00 AM
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‘Five to seven minutes of knocking’
Bangladesh opener Liton Das plays a shot during the third and final T20I match against England at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Tuesday. — AFP PHOTO

Bangladesh opener Liton Das changed his batting gears against England in the last game of the three-match T20I series and it proved his dividends.

The right-handed batsman is known for playing stroke-filled innings as that is known to be his strength but in the last game against the visitors he opted to bat out of his character that not only helped him put his highest T20I score of 53-ball 71 runs, but in the process guided Bangladesh to 158-2.

Liton was certainly not among runs and his form turned out to be a matter of concern for the team management but he chose to dispatch all kinds of doubts regarding his form with a brilliant batting display in a wicket that was tricky to some extent where English bowlers tried their level best to make sure their opponents cannot free their arms at will.

“When I was knocking the ball today (Tuesday morning), I was feeling the position of my legs. What I believe is that it’s my trigger movement and when it stays okay, I can handle any bowler. That’s what I wasn’t able to win in the last five games,” Liton told broadcaster T Sports after the last game of the series.

“I won’t say T20Is and I was playing attacking cricket in T20. I was trying to hit the gaps but couldn’t find them. It could be the foot movement or something else. I think a player’s rhythm is very important. Not because I played well but even if I had played badly, the way I knocked the ball, I could feel and get confidence within myself that I could get into a good zone again. I will say it again, had I gotten a zero, I wouldn’t have a problem,” he said.

“If I say it, I wasn’t getting any confidence in the past few days after knocking the ball. So today my shape and feel was coming back and it’s very important for a batter. That’s why maybe my confidence level was high and then you will be able to see the ball properly. The 5-7 minutes I put in today were a lot better than the practice I had put in the last few days. While knocking doesn’t bring about a big change but I feel I have gotten something big from that,” he said.

Liton batted with a lot of authority in the last T20I but what was more important was the fact he changed his game plan in a relatively opted to buy some time out in the middle before going for his shots.

Liton felt that batting continuously in the BPL had an impact on his shape.

“If it says this, it might appear to mean a lot of things. But what I have found is that in the last BPL, I played continuously. Due to playing of 13-14 T20 games on the trot, my batting shape became bad and its impact was felt in the ODIs. When I was training, I was trying to follow what I had done in the last one-and-a-half to two years. But I wasn’t able to find out what happened,” Liton said.

“Even in the last two games, I wasn’t able to recreate the cricket or the mentality required that I practiced with. There are a few things where the feelings vary from person to person. Some get the feel from a defencive shot, another may get it from a cover drive or someone else through a pull shot,” he said.

Liton reached his 50 in 41 balls by picking a single off leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed and his inning came to an end on 73 runs that included 10 fours and a six but not without turning out to be his slowest fifty in the shortest format, with a strike-rate of 128.

Earlier Liton’s slowest fifty came against Zimbabwe when he scored 50 off 45 balls against Zimbabwe in 2020 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur while against Afghanistan he scored a half-century with a strike-rate of 136.

Bangladesh T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan said that he is not worried about Liton’s strike-rate as it served him well. “Was it Liton’s slowest fifty?” Shakib asked reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.

“Probably he scored his highest runs today (in T20Is) and that was ok,” said Shakib. 

“We didn’t know how many runs were enough on this pitch. So we were very open-minded. We first thought 140 was a good score. Then we got to a stage when we thought 170-180 would be our total,” he said.

“We didn’t get many runs in the last five overs, but we batted well in the power-play and middle-overs. They have seven or eight proper bowlers so we had to struggle at least once in the innings. The way Rony and Liton started and then Shanto and Liton built their innings, especially their running between the wickets was outstanding. The way they turned ones into twos and twos into threes, it put England under pressure,” Shakib concluded.