The scene is all too familiar. Liton Kumar Das is upset with himself after getting out. Sometimes he stands on the wicket in despair, keeps his head down, sometimes looks at the bat, shakes his head. This scene has been seen many times in his career. Irregularities have also been seen in this World Cup. The same scene was staged in Bangladesh’s last match against Australia.
There will be no betting on whether this scene will be seen in the future. There are no bets on certain things!
Being angry at yourself means two things. Firstly, he is giving away wickets or playing loose shots. Second, he realized his mistake.
The first is fine in Lytton’s case. Repeatedly returning with wickets to the opponent. But the latter is an exception. There is no evidence of misunderstand in his batting. In this World Cup, he expressed his disappointment after getting out 6 times in 9 matches.
I mean, you keep making mistakes. But learning from mistakes where!
How talented Lytton is, how eye-catching his batting is, how helpless he can make bowlers when he is in rhythm, these discussions have not gone down. After spending so many years in the career, they are not worth much now. The time is now to match all the capabilities. That time has already passed. Lytton has always succeeded, most of the time he has disappointed. As in this World Cup. Once again he failed to live up to expectations.
He has 284 runs in this World Cup after playing 9 innings, batting average is 31.55. Pretty poor stats for an opener or a specialist batsman.
If it had been the case, he had been dismissed repeatedly while trying to get quick runs or to give the team a flying start, then maybe this run or average could have been accepted. But his strike rate of 80.22 suggests that he was not very aggressive.
With this performance, however, he became the best in the history of Bangladesh at one place. He is the opener who scored the most runs for Bangladesh in a World Cup! The previous highest was 235 in 8 innings by Tamim Iqbal in 2019 World Cup.
No other opener of Bangladesh could score 200 runs in a World Cup. It paints a sad picture of the team’s top order in the World Cup.
But it can no longer be the shield of failure of Liton! His expectations were sky high. The team sees the image of a world-class batsman in him. The 5 batsmen who have scored the most runs in this World Cup so far are the top order. The top order of all the teams has done more or less well. Bangladesh is an exception.
Not only from the global perspective, he has also disappointed the reality of the Bangladesh team. He is the main opener of the team, also the main batsman. Probably the team’s most influential batsman too. If he gives a good start, the dressing room becomes braver, if he plays big innings, the team’s chances of doing well increase a lot. The role of Mahmudullah-Mushfiqur in the batting line-up is no longer the most important. Shakib has also left his best time with the bat. Liton and Nazmul Hossain were looking more at Shanta. As an opener and having more experience, Liton had more responsibility. Here Lytton failed to live up to expectations.
But more disappointing than the run figures is the style of his dismissals. Regret and apprehension about him is more here. There is not much impression of learning from mistakes, picking yourself up, understanding the value of your wicket. The urge to push yourself to the next level is not there.
A review of the innings of his career makes it clear. Just looking back at his dismissals in this World Cup, he has been dismissed well in only two matches – Kagiso Rabada’s inside delivery against South Africa and Dilshan Madushanka’s brilliant yorker against Sri Lanka.
Neither of these deliveries were actually ‘unplayable’. Rabadar’s delivery as Lytton is LBW while flicking it. If he played straight bat, there would be less chance of getting out. Madushanka’s yorker did not have much pace on the ball. Lytton was basically startled and failed to bring down the bat in time. Still the bowler has credit for these two outs. The rest is Liton’s responsibility.
Like Saturday’s match against Australia. Began very cautiously. Then settled down and started playing shots. He was batting very well. No bowler could trouble him too much. After Adam Zampa came in to bowl, he lost focus and gave a catch, narrowly missed by Pat Cummins. Litton is supposed to be a little more careful after that. Especially when it comes to playing Zampa.
But he is Liton, forget the mistakes! A little later Zampa was picked up and killed. That shot didn’t have enough force to be a six, or less force that the ball didn’t go to the fielder. Rather, it seemed as if he was giving Australia’s fielding coach, ‘long catch’ catching practice to Marnus Labuchen.
Now go back a bit to the match against India in Pune. Lytton was playing brilliantly that day, at his absolute best. Then suddenly Ravindra tried to play Jadeja inside out. There is also not enough force to hit, just a gentle pick up and hit. The loss has to be paid by losing wickets.
Lytton was annoyed with himself by playing the shot that day as well. Showed this day too. But where did you learn?
Both shots show a lack of ‘match awareness’. Zampa is a leg-spinner and Australia’s main spinner. At that time if there was a big shot to be played, then there was no need to play the jumper ball. On the other side, part-time off-spinner Travis Head was bowling. Lytton could easily ‘target’ him.
Like in the match against India, Jadeja was kept bowling to take wickets. A left-arm spinner who bowls hard, who is difficult to play down the wicket, it was not necessary to take a ‘chance’. He could easily be passed over.
This is how he has increased the ‘bat’ of support for the opponent since the beginning of the World Cup. He was under no pressure in the run chase against Afghanistan in the first match. Fazalhaq Faruqi’s ball left the crease and pulled the ball away from the body to the stumps. Much of this was repeated in the very next match. He played great against England that day. But he suddenly left the crease and raised the bat to the outside ball in a walking posture. Which can actually be called a ‘nothing shot.’
There was a lot of discussion and criticism about the way a bowler as effective with the new ball as Trent Boult was dismissed on the very first ball of the match against New Zealand in Chennai. Chasing 383 runs against the Netherlands, he scored 22 runs at a strike rate of 50.
But even the surprise of those matches was surpassed against the Netherlands. There was no pressure in the medium run chase, the situation didn’t demand much, but he lost the wicket in a sudden reverse sweep. The downfall of the team started with his stubborn shots.
He stood at the crease for quite some time after giving a soft catch to a very innocent delivery by Iftikhar Ahmed against Pakistan.
All in all, mistake after mistake. Then same mistake again. Pierced by that thorn, but unable to find the salve, he could not stop himself from stepping on the thorn again the next time.
His ODI average still stands at 32.48 later this cycle. This batting heaven is a wicket and his bat is excellent even in the world cup of run tide.
Age passed 29. As a cricketer, now is his best time. But where is the reflection of the performance!
Shakib and Hasan said in the hotly debated interview on T-Sports before the start of the World Cup, Liton will do something in this World Cup that the entire cricket world will watch. This hope of the captain now sounds like a joke!