Wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Das came in as the replacement for the injured Shakib al Hasan in the Bangladesh squad touring Sri Lanka for the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series. And the right-handed batsman duly made the most of the opportunity.
Liton opened the batting for the Tigers in place of prominent opener Tamim Iqbal, who was rested for the practice game against Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI Tuesday, and grabbed the opportunity with both hands scoring an 18-ball 40. The Tigers were in early trouble losing two early wickets - Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman for a duck and one run respectively.
Boosted by Liton's blazing innings, and contributions of 65 and 43 from wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and makeshift Bangladesh T20I captain Mahmudullah respectively, the Tigers posted 186 on the board for the loss of five wickets in their stipulated 20 overs. Later, a joint effort by the Tigers bowling attack restricted the opposition to 145 in 19 overs.
Liton's effort in the game should catch the attention of the selection panel but only time will tell if he can make it to the playing XI. Bangladesh in their squad have two other stumper-batsmen in the shape of Mushfiq and Nurul Hasan.
"Selection totally depends on the management. They must have thought I am capable due to which they called me into the squad. I try to play well in every game. It was a good day for me but the rest depends on the management," said Liton following the practice game at Colombo Cricket Club.
Liton, who last played a T20I for Bangladesh in September last year during their tour of South Africa, returned to the national fold backed by his consistent performances in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League 2017-18 season. The right-hander in five innings in the Dhaka League for Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club made 386 runs at an average of 96.5, including two centuries and a half-century.
When queried if his form in the Dhaka League had helped him with the bat in the practice game, Liton explained, "You always get confidence when you score runs. There is this positive flow, let it be with the ball or the bat. I have played some good matches in the Dhaka League and that effected me positively [Tuesday]. There was some extra confidence working in me."
Bangladesh travelled to Sri Lanka for the tri-series with bitter memories from the recent past. The side without a permanent head coach have been in search of an occasion to revive themselves through team performance. The combined effort in pulling off a 41-run win in the practice game should give some confidence to the dressing room before the side start their campaign facing India Thursday.
"We have been able to put up a decent team performance. We were looking to win this game before playing our first match in the tournament against India. It was important for us to win this game," said Liton.
"Practice game is played to prepare yourself so I think we got good practice with both the bat and the ball. But one needs to execute in the main game. We will only get a good result if we can execute our plans in the main event," the wicketkeeper-batsman added.