Does Liton understand the value of his wicket?
Bangladesh opener Liton Das had managed three starts at this World Cup -- a stat that cannot be considered poor given how abysmal the Tigers' overall batting performance has been throughout the mega event.
Time and time again, however, Liton has failed to put a value on his wicket despite having big expectations pinned on him.
Liton was watchful against Sri Lanka yesterday and looked in good touch. But the rush of blood or the sheer unawareness came before. Only good timing does not make a good batter, at least not in international cricket and certainly not in a World Cup game.
After Dilshan Madushanka had added to his World Cup haul with the wicket of opener Tanzid Tamim, out to a rash shot, Liton proceeded to pull the left-arm pacer in the very same over, with the ball going straight to the man at square-leg. The ball travelled fiercely and just about carried before Kusal Perera dropped and it went away for four.
With the new ball doing a lot, openers need to ensure that they see off that swing and movement. Winning a war means losing some battles while winning the crucial ones. Preserving wicket even when being a little bogged down is about making such a concession in order to reach bigger goals.
That shot was on, but the manner in which Liton played it was not, as the right-hander survived a scare. It was also a shot pretty similar to the shot he played against Trent Boult in the Tigers' New Zealand game when Liton moved across and flicked it straight to the fielder at fine-leg in the very first delivery of the innings. Had he shown more intent, it should have cleared the fence. Had he felt that it was too early, he could have rolled his wrist to keep it down. Neither he played it with enough authority to clear the fielder nor did he try to keep it down in Boult's first delivery. The pattern then developed yesterday with that dropped catch.
Liton's two sixes off Kasun Rajitha once again showed his calibre, but the war was still on and he had not paid attention.
Madushanka had troubled Najmul Hossain Shanto in the fifth over of the innings, beating the batter on a couple of occasions with outswingers. When Madushanka came in for another over, Liton, suffering from a cramp, did not move his feet much but more importantly, he showed no urgency of occupying and surviving the natural shape Madushanka was getting -- an inswinger for Liton.
The yorker hit Liton at the base of the foot, plumb in front of stumps as he departed after a 22-ball 23. While many batters may fall to such a delivery, the signs were enough evidence to suggest Liton should have been more alert for that delivery.
Against India and Pakistan, Liton had gotten starts but threw it away to poor shots at crucial moments.
"I need to go big when I get in," Ian Bishop at commentary was suggesting when Liton came in to bat yesterday. At this moment, however, Liton has not made it big with his best knock at this World Cup -- a 76-run knock against England -- coming in a losing cause. His case, much like the rest of the team, has been the lack of impetus to read situations better, and given his batting position, it proved calamitous at this World Cup.