Liton has his work cut out to recover consistency
Liton Das is a natural stroke-maker and when such batters struggle even for short periods, naturally a lot of questions regarding lack of form also arrive.
Despite not being completely out of runs, the manner of Liton's dismissals over the past few months have been a concern for the Bangladesh team management. With major tournaments such as Asia Cup and the World Cup to come, Liton's form is a big area of dependency for the Tigers as a strong start from the top-order is required when wickets favour batters.
Liton scored 152 in seven innings in the Global T20 league in Canada at an average of over 21 and strike-rate of just over 100. His LPL stint of three games saw him average just over 11, managing 34 runs at a strike-rate of 113.33.
Yesterday, head coach Chandika Hathurusingha too was asked to address the "concern" regarding the vice-captain's form. Chandika, though, felt that the recent T20 performances in franchise leagues were not an apt indicator.
"I have no concerns about his form at the moment because he's played in a few competitions in Canada and in Sri Lanka. Those are T20s. But he's training really hard.
"If you look at those recent tournaments that he played, the pitches are not that great, not high scoring, especially in Canada; and to a certain extent in Sri Lanka. So, whatever the runs he scored were impact runs," Chandika said at the press conference yesterday.
What Liton's role would be as an opener, apart from being able to see off the new ball is still a tactically nuanced question. But the head coach insinuated there was a plan regarding his role.
"Yes, we want him to play a different, like a big role, during the Asia Cup and the World Cup. So, hope that he will show."
Liton was phenomenal across formats last year but averages just over 30 this year. Despite the three fifties this year, including one in his last ODI while playing Afghanistan, even the team management feel Liton has been a little off. A part of the issue has been getting starts and not being able to carry on. \
"He [Liton] thinks that he could have done much better. So, we also think that he's capable of doing more than what he's showing us," Hathurusingha said.
Liton shared his recent struggles with childhood mentor Montu Dutta, who had coached Liton during his BKSP days. The coach divulged that there were some issues with Liton's movements during the shots he was trying to execute.
"I talked to him today regarding some of his movements. While playing spin, his shoulder does not get down and I suggested some things," he told members of the media after watching Liton bat at the nets yesterday in Mirpur.
In recent times, Liton has been getting out to awkward shots of good-length deliveries. The coach tried to provide an explanation.
"While playing the shot, if the head isn't somewhat down, you won't be able to execute the perfect shot. To get on top of the delivery and be able to judge it properly, I talked to him about why his foot movement wasn't happening.
"It's not a big problem but a small thing is becoming big in stature. He discussed that sometimes he was hitting deliveries that aren't there to be hit. We discussed how to mentally prepare to avoid these things," he added.
Montu felt that Liton needed a few drills to get going before delving into focused net sessions. For now, apart from the technical adjustments, it would be those mental preparations that can set Liton towards the kind of run-scoring he showed last year.