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Dhaka Tribune

Captain Liton ready for Afghanistan Test

Liton said it’s not a whole new thing for him as he often leads the side for a few overs and as a keeper, he used to be involved in providing inputs and directions during a match

Update : 12 Jun 2023, 09:38 PM

Bangladesh stand-in Test captain Liton Das is happy to lead his country in the elite format of the game and bracing for the Afghanistan challenge in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Liton, who made his Test debut against India in 2015, has been the vice-captain of the Bangladesh Test team since last year and will now lead the side in the absence of regular skipper Shakib al Hasan, currently sidelined due to injury. 

The right-hander is enjoying a prolific run of form across all three formats for Bangladesh since last year, particularly his red-ball performance in the last few years is praiseworthy. 

Liton scored 200 runs in four innings in 2020 with an average of 50, 172 runs in four innings with an average of 42.5 in 2021, 501 runs in 11 innings in 2021/22 with an average of 45.54, 382 runs in seven innings in 2022 with an average of 54.57 and 207 runs in six innings in 2022/23 with an average of 34.5.  

And now captaincy will add extra responsibility on the shoulders of one of the most important batsmen in Bangladesh's middle-order.

The right-handed batter though informed that it's not a whole new thing for him as he often leads the side for a few overs and as a wicket-keeper, he used to be involved in providing inputs and directions during a match.

"It's nothing special (Test captaincy) to be honest. But of course, it feels good to become Test captain. Test cricket is the most preferred format for any cricketer, and even playing Test cricket as a player is also a big thing. So captaining the country in this format is definitely a matter of pride," Liton told a press conference Monday.

"I never really thought about any differences. I did the captaincy a few times when Shakib bhai was out for an over or two. That's why I didn't think about the captaincy that much. Let's see if I feel anything different when I go for the toss (laughs)."

One of the major talking points of the lone Test is the absence of star Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan.

All-rounder Rashid scored 51 and 24 and scalped 11 wickets in the Chittagong Test against hosts Bangladesh in 2019 and was subsequently adjudged man of the match for his match-winning performance.

Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi said Rashid's absence is not a major concern for the visiting side and Liton too echoed the same sentiment. 

The Bangladesh skipper said they will face Afghanistan with the same intensity even though the tourists have a relatively inexperienced squad.

"We would have taken them seriously even if they had Rashid. We'll continue to play the same cricket. We have also had a break from Test cricket. The last time we played was in April. Then we played white-ball cricket. I think we are better than them in one aspect: we have been playing Test cricket for a long time, and our maturity level is also higher because we cricketers play a lot of Test cricket now,” opined Liton.

“But we need to play better cricket. In the end, if you don't play well out there and do not execute your game plan well then it can cause negative effects. So we have to play well. Yes, they have some unknown players (to us) in their squad, but to judge them in Test cricket on that basis is tough. We have some plans against them and if we can execute those well then the result will be good for us."

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