I just want Tamim, Mahmudullah to enjoy their game: Litton

Bangladesh stand-in captain Litton Das talks to media at Mirpur on 20 September, 2023
Prothom Alo

Bangladesh stand-in captain Litton Das made it clear he would give Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad a space to enjoy their game as they returned to International cricket following a long interval.

Both of them will be accommodated in the team as Bangladesh take on New Zealand in the three-match ODI series opener Thursday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, reports news agency BSS.

Tamim Iqbal, who stepped down as ODI captain last month, returned to the team after recovering from his recurring back pain while Mahmudullah was axed after the England series in March following a poor run of form.

Both of them are believed to be under pressure to prove their credentials, with focus firmly on Mahmudullah who apparently was brought back into the side after young players failed to meet the expectation at No.7 position.

Tamim, though is an automatic choice for the World Cup bound team, announced his sudden retirement and then reversing the decision after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and again stepping down as ODI captain is believed to create a distance with his teammates.

"When you have two senior players in the team, it helps in many ways," Litton said at a pre-match media conference on Wednesday.

Tamim Iqbal is returning in the team
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"They are coming back to the team after a while and so I don't want to put any pressure on them. My responsibility is to create an amicable environment for them so that they can enjoy their game. Chance of our success is much higher if someone can enjoy the game," he added.

Apart from those two senior players, Bangladesh called up players like Soumya Sarkar, Zakir Hasan and leg-spinner Rishad Hossain and others.

Focus will be on Soumya Sarkar too alongside Tamim and Mahmudullah. Soumya is also believed to be a contender for No. 7 position like Mahmudullah.

Litton said there is nothing to make Soumya and Mahmudullah understand their roles as they are experienced enough to know what's expected of them.

"There is nothing to tell about any specific roles to anyone because it depends on different situations. If we lose quick wickets and Mahmudullah goes to bat with 30 to 35 overs he will bat accordingly. So there is nothing to say because he is mature and the same thing applies to Soumya. Wherever they will bat they will try to score runs. Every batter needs to score runs," he said.

Litton said there is nothing to make Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah understand their roles as they are experienced enough to know what's expected of them

Litton also insisted they have many things to achieve from the series as the World Cup is knocking at the door.

"There are many things to achieve from the series. The first thing is to win the series. That will be a big achievement ahead of the World Cup," Litton Das remarked.

"To win a series for the country is always a big achievement. We won't play to show just individual brilliance. A five-wicket or a century doesn't matter if the team doesn't win. And obviously, World Cup preparation is going on. The players will be serious enough," he said.

Litton who himself has been going through a poor run of form insisted that he's not short on confidence despite not being among runs in the recent past.

He said he is hopeful to make a strong return to form sooner than later.
Since 2019, Litton is the leading scorer for his country making 1508 runs in 43 ODIs at an average of 39.68 but he faced a downhill spiral in the recent time as he made only one half-century in his last nine innings in the 50-overs format.

"I am trying to find out (my shortcomings) and practising and hopefully I can make a comeback quickly. There is nothing like (short of) confidence and let's see what happens," said Litton.