Rajshahi Royals have been the side with the most consistent opening stand in the ongoing Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 as Liton Das and Afif Hossain have regularly brought them good starts. The batsmen themselves have been very consistent as Liton currently sits fourth on the top run-scorers chart with Afif being ranked at 10th.
Liton till now has scored 422 runs in his 12 innings at a strike rate of almost 140, averaging 38.36. This is Liton's most prolific BPL bout and his consistency in such a big stage has been lauded as the batsman was always known for his talents but also was criticized for being inconsistent.
When questioned about the secret behind his consistency in the post-match press conference of the match between Rajshahi and Chattogram Challengers where Liton was adjudged man of the match for his match-winning knock of 75, Liton said that playing fewer shots has helped him to be consistent and also, his marriage has helped him to mature.
"In the last 3-4 BPL's, I got carried away playing shots. I think I have played fewer shots in this BPL. You will see that in the last 3-4 BPL's, I scored 25-30 off 15 deliveries but got out. This time around you will see that I am not playing at fourth gear, rather I playing normal cricket. The bowlers are always on the backfoot in the powerplay. So, if I hit a four the bowler thinks twice before bowling the next ball and there is always an opportunity of the bowler bowling a bad delivery. I have changed myself here that I can not play all shots, I have to play my shots selectively," the 25-year old said.
He further added, "When I played bad and was out of the national side during 2016-17, I matured a bit. I learnt a lot during that time and matured. And also I think that marrying has made me more mature. I am lucky that I got married at a young age. Marriage has increased my maturity, I feel it that way. I don't know how, but it has increased on and off the field."
Liton also talked about his batting stance as he said that he has worked a lot with Bangladesh's batting coach in the limited-overs, Neil McKenzie and is also working on his head position.
"Yes, my batting has changed a bit. I have worked with Neil (McKenzie) a lot, that is why my foot movement has changed a bit. Not really foot movement, my head position has changed. I noticed in the last couple of matches that my head kept falling out of place, I am working on it so that it does not happen anymore," Liton added.
Liton struck two fifties in his last two matches and these two innings have taken him to fourth in the BPL run-scorers' chart. Questioned if this was satisfying, Liton said that it was and added that he did not have an initial target at the beginning of the tournament but later on, set a target of scoring 400 runs.
"When I started the tournament, I did not have any specific goal, I just wanted to play normal cricket. Every year my strike rate is over 140 but this time around my target was to keep it a tad lower. Even if it was below 130, I thought that I had to play long innings'. If I was at the crease for 10-12 overs, I would automatically score 40-50, this was my plan from the start. But scoring runs in the first two matches made me a bit over-confident and that pegged me back. When I noticed that everyone was scoring 300-400 runs, I set a target of scoring at least 400 runs. And to score 400, I had to score two fifties. I am lucky that I reached 400 runs with two fifties in consecutive matches. Now my target will be to do well in the important matches coming up," the right-handed batsman asserted.
Liton also added that he was enjoying opening with Afif as Afif took the role of attacking and Liton himself could play ball by ball.
Rajshahi have ensured a place in the top two with their win against Chattogram and will face the winner of the match between Dhaka Platoon and Khulna Tigers in the first qualifier on January 13.