He is undoubtedly the most aesthetically pleasing batter to watch in Bangladesh right now. A wicketkeeper batter of unquestionable potential, Liton Das made his way into the Bangladesh national cricket team after scoring truckloads of runs in domestic cricket. Fast forward five years and Liton Das still remains a promising player who hasn't quite translated his potential to performance.
Liton Das keeps wickets in Tests as well but his primary job is to score runs and of late, he has failed to do so. The 26-year old smashed a record-breaking 176 against Zimbabwe in early 2020. Since then, he has been short of runs not only in international cricket but also in domestic cricket.
Liton Das scored only 36 runs in three matches against the West Indies back in January. The right-handed opening batter scored a total of 50 runs in six white-ball fixtures in the New Zealand tour. Liton's poor run of form continued in the Sri Lanka tour as well. Despite scoring a fifty in the first Test, Liton failed to make a substantial contribution in the second match.
The talented batter couldn't live up to the expectations in the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka and ended up losing his place in the team to Naim Sheikh.
But what's ailing the batter who is touted as the future of Bangladesh cricket? BKSP's technical advisor Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, former skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and selector Habibul Bashar expressed their opinions to The Business Standard (TBS) regarding this.
"He is short of confidence now. I think he has lost a lot of confidence being out of form. But to be honest, all the talented players are struggling right now."
Fahim pointed out the reason behind this as well: "Probably this has something to do with the process of their growth and maturation as cricketers. It's the basic skills which are important. A person cannot be a good businessman if he has funds. He needs to be aware of how the business functions. These batters have the funds and the technical knowledge."
"That's why they have come through the ranks and made their way into the national team. But probably they couldn't figure out how they would start the business. Look, when your business fails, you do a lot of things aimlessly. That's when you start to shy away from the fundamental principles of business. And when this happens, you tend to start losing your confidence. I think that's what has happened to Liton, Soumya (Sarkar), (Najmul Hossain) Shanto. But our process of developing players is responsible for their lack of faith in themselves," added Fahim.
The technical advisor of the BKSP suggested that they should go back a couple of steps and start afresh. "They have to stick to their basics. I think they need to go back one or two steps. They have to recall the thought process when they were playing well. For this, they have to clear their minds. They have to declutter their minds. Probably then they will be able to visualise the basics and it might work for them."
Liton made his international debut in 2015 and played a lot of matches under the leadership of Mashrafe Mortaza. Mashrafe has observed him very closely. The former captain also believes that the problem is in Liton's mind.
"The coach can tell why he is not performing. But I think the mental block is one of the reasons. His shot selection is a concern as well. He seems to be in two minds when he bats. The coaches will be able to talk about the technical flaws but I think the problem is in his mind."
"The coach can tell why he is not performing. But I think the mental block is one of the reasons. His shot selection is a concern as well. He seems to be in two minds when he bats. The coaches will be able to talk about the technical flaws but I think the problem is in his mind," said Mashrafe.
Mashrafe advised him to stay away from social media and not to read what has been written about him in the newspapers. He said, "He has to stay away from social media and not listen to what people are saying about him. I don't think the criticism is helping him. He has to fight for himself. He has to identify what's denting his confidence."
But the most successful ODI captain of Bangladesh still wants Liton as the opener. "I still believe that Liton has to open. He has the ability. No one else is doing better in that position. It's a different thing if the BCB wants to give someone else time to cement his place instead of Liton. But Bangladesh cricket has progressed a lot and we cannot afford to give someone time. We need performances," Mashrafe said.
One of the selectors and former captain Habibul Bashar doesn't think that it's a mental issue. Bashar feels that Liton has lost the rhythm because of the long hiatus caused by Covid-19.
"I don't think it's a mental issue. There was a long gap due to Covid-19. He was in the form before that. Then there was no cricket for a long time. Probably that's why he is facing difficulties to get the rhythm back. A batter of his style needs the rhythm. He is taking some time to regain that," he said.
Bashar doesn't want to give up on Liton and said, "Even Virat Kohli faces difficulties when he is not in form. Liton scored runs in Tests. He is a classic player. I have a lot of faith in him. I don't think he will take much time to return to form," Bashar said.
Liton Das has seen the highs and lows. He has lost the way somewhat but ODI skipper Tamim doesn't think that he will sink into oblivion. Tamim, after the third ODI against Sri Lanka, said, "I think Liton has been given enough chances. He has not performed to his potential in 8-9 games. But this is not the end. We all know how good a player he is."