Liton Das. Photo: AFP
Bangladesh batsman Liton Das said that his maiden ODI hundred against India at the just-concluded Asia Cup has relieved lot of pressure and self doubt. Liton, widely considered one of the most talented Bangladesh batsman, has generally fallen well short of his potential on the international circuit before scoring a classy hundred in a pressure final, albeit in a losing cause.
Despite being in the Test and the T20 teams for quite some time, Liton has failed to earn a regular spot in the ODI side. He appeared to have lost the opening spot for good after the debacle in South Africa but a combination of some timely runs in the T20 format - a half-century against Windies - coinciding with failures of other top-order contenders paved his return to opening slot in the 50-overs format.
He made a couple of false starts in the Asia Cup before managing a 117-ball 121 in the final against India which came ever so close to giving Bangladesh the Asia Cup title. With the monkey now off the back, Liton now hopes to add consistency to his start-stop ODI career.
"My first ODI hundred is very important. I was on the back foot for quite some time so for me it became imperative to perform," Liton told reporters at the preparatory camp ahead of the home series against Zimbabwe at Mirpur on Tuesday (October 16). My main aim is to be consistent because when I play domestic cricket I scored quite consistently [but that was not the case at the international level]. Now I am looking forward to make ways so that I can perform consistently at international level."
The success notwithstanding, Liton has his feet firmly planted on the ground, refusing to take his success for granted. It is this attitude that helped him carry the confidence from the Asia Cup innings to domestic cricket where he smashed the fastest double hundred (off 140 balls) in Bangladesh's first class cricket history, breaking his own record within six months.
"I don't think that way [that one innings will change my career]. Because for me each match is important. One match can have a lot of impact on someone's career but you have to start from the scratch in the next match," Liton said. "I believe cricket is a mental game and if your mind is clear you are bound to succeed.
"As I was not performing naturally there were doubts regarding my ability. After performing probably a lot of pressure was released so perhaps managed to play like that [for Rangpur]," he added.
Bangladesh will hope Liton has turned a significant corner in his international career and will look forward to more such telling contributions in the forthcoming series against Zimbabwe. Liton's own expectations have gone up.
"Certainly there is pressure of expectation as I have done well, my team and my teammates will want me to do well again while I would like to fulfil my expectations. I guess it is from both sides," he concluded.
The three-match ODI series versus Zimbabwe starts on October 21. It'll be followed by two Tests at Sylhet and Mirpur.