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NZ in BAN – Bangladesh batting coach Ashwell Prince reckons Liton Das could be used as opener for NZ T20Is

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Liton missed the Australia T20Is where Sarkar and Naim opened for the team

Bangladesh batting coach Ashwell Prince expects Liton Das to be in the mix for one of the opening spots in the T20I series against New Zealand. Liton was one of two returnees to the side after missing the T20Is against Zimbabwe due to an injury and the Australia series due to a family emergency.

Liton has opened in 23 out of 33 T20Is for Bangladesh, but in his absence Bangladesh have mostly used the Soumya Sarkar-Mohammad Naim pair, although they too were broken up after eight matches. After their 102-run stand against Zimbabwe in July, they hardly put a dent in the powerplays, lasting no more than 3.3 overs in the following six matches. When Mahedi Hasan was promoted in the fifth T20I against Australia, he added an encouraging 42-run stand in 4.3 overs with Naim.

Prince said that finding boundaries is much harder at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, but he welcomed the competition among the openers.

“Personally I am not really concerned about the opening batsmen,” Prince said. “I think we had one or two good partnerships in Zimbabwe but conditions were tough against Australia. It is not easy to score boundaries frequently as you would in pitches where the ball is coming on. Adapting to the conditions is important. Partnership would be important. I think we have a strong competition in the opening position. I am sure Liton Das will get an opportunity in this position, as well.”

Prince said that the Bangladeshi batters involved in the Australia series had a discussion on how best to tackle the conditions, that is likely to be similar against New Zealand later this week.

“I am expecting similar conditions against New Zealand. The batsmen from Australia series had a nice discussion yesterday, sharing with guys like Liton Das and Mushfiqur (Rahim) who didn’t play in that series.

“These are experienced guys but they shared what worked and what we like to improve on from the Australia series, taking it into the New Zealand series coming up,” he said.

But Prince said that Bangladesh will take these visitors lightly at their own peril. He said that New Zealand will plan better now that they have seen how Australia played here.

“I think we can expect New Zealand to analyse and plan well, using the recent Australia series to learn from. They are a street-wise team who would plan meticulously against every batsmen, bowlers and pitches. They will use every bit of information to help them,” he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84


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