Can Bangladesh's next-generation batsmen deliver?

ESPN Shorts: Mashrafe Mortaza (1:51)

Can the Bangladeshi pacer bring home the Asia Cup? (1:51)

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes has been positive about the team's young batsmen, but they will begin the Asia Cup wary of their lack of consistency. This tournament offers Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mohammad Mithun, Ariful Haque and Mominul Haque another opportunity - a major one at that - to prove themselves in ODI cricket, and provide some relief to the senior batsmen.

Among the current lot, Liton has shown good form recently, hitting a 32-ball 61 against West Indies in the third T20I in Florida. Mithun too was among the runs in Ireland for Bangladesh A, also finishing the tour with an explosive 39-ball 80 in the fourth T20. Rhodes thinks both batsmen's confidence will be boosted by this, which should help them in the Asia Cup.

"I am not concerned," Rhodes said. "If I was in Liton Das' shoes at the moment, I'd be very happy. He played a wonderful knock in the last T20I against West Indies, which was like a final. I am sure he feels confident. The other guys are also hitting it well during practice.

"Mithun has been a late inclusion in the side. He has forced his way into the side on the back of performances in Ireland with the A team, as well as impressing people in the camp. We are delighted to have young players of that calibre. They need to stand up, and I am sure the expectations of them will be very strong to stand up. But I am very happy and confident that they are in good nick and will do a good job."

Now that Anamul Haque has been dropped, Liton is the prime candidate to open with Tamim Iqbal, and Mithun is slated for a lower-middle order role. Liton has opened twice in the last three years, and was picked on his Test and T20I form as he hasn't played any ODIs since the South Africa tour last year.

The likes of Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Anamul and Mithun have opened in the last two years without much success or consistency. In this period Imrul struck the only century from the spot, apart from two fifties, in nine innings at the top, while Soumya, Tamim's most regular partner in this phase, has only two fifties in 14 innings at an average of 21.07.

Bangladesh have added Shanto as a back-up opener and Mominul as a top-order candidate, but neither are first-choice at this stage.

Shakib is likely to bat at three, followed by Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, meaning the Nos. 6 and 7 slots will be filled by two out of Mithun, Ariful and Mosaddek.

Mosaddek has more recent experience batting in those positions - he did so during the West Indies tour, although he didn't bat for too long or wasn't explosive enough. There is hope that Mithun can provide some big hits, given his middle-order stints in the Dhaka Premier League (a domestic List-A tournament) earlier this year.

Ariful is the other option, but since he hasn't really made the similar position in T20Is his own, he will have a lot to do.

With Soumya and Sabbir Rahman already jettisoned, Liton, Mithun, Mosaddek, Mominul and Shanto - all touted to be Bangladesh's next batch of big talents - need to show promise or they might face a similar sticky situation.