The junior cricketers in the Bangladesh team sense an invincible barrier in expressing their opinions, thinking about how their ‘elder brothers’ in the team will respond to their opinions. But it’s not that they are forbidden from speaking their minds freely.
For example, Liton suggested to captain Tamim Iqbal that the skipper should open the innings with Najmul Hossain Shanto in the second ODI against West Indies. He proposed the idea as the opponent team had two left-arm spinners. If two left-handers come out to open then that would blunt the West Indies spin attack, and if the left-handed opening duo could see off the left-arm spinners, Liton could come in at three and bat more freely.
Liton had a personal interest in avoiding the left-arm spinners, but it was also in the best interest of the team. That’s why Tamim appreciated Liton’s thinking. After the match, the captain showered praises on Liton and said that it was a brilliant idea.
There is a shortage of players in the current Bangladesh team who speak up when needed. Liton is slowly becoming the exception. Those who have been playing in the team for five-six years, are also like the moon. They don’t have their own light, they don’t have opinions. They are illuminated by the light exuded by the team’s ‘elder brothers’.
Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim are at the twilight of their careers. To build the Bangladesh team of the next generation, it’s important that cricketers like Liton, and Miraz start forming their own opinions. It’s even more important for them to express those opinions without any hesitation.
Liton is showing the way by gradually coming out of his shell. But it’s difficult to trod a path alone. Many more have to join Liton.
*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy