‘Don’t label me a white-ball specialist’, says Liam Livingstone

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Graham Newcastle

Liam Livingstone believes his brief taste of international cricket with England in the T20 arena last summer, and ironically the disappointment of not doing as well as he expected, may just have helped win him a Test call for March’s series in New Zealand.

The Lancashire captain is the new name in England’s squad for a two-match tour which is hugely important given what has just happened in Australia.

Livingstone admitted his surprise at receiving the call from national selector James Whitaker on Tuesday – incidentally, whilst the 24-year-old was in the gym.

But he is ready to shine in New Zealand, a place where he has never visited, and continue on from last season’s County Championship when he scored 803 runs, including a late season double hundred against Warwickshire.

“It’s obviously a nice moment for me and my family and friends,” said Livingstone, who played two T20 matches against South Africa, scoring only 16 runs.

“It was a big surprise when I got the call.

“I wasn’t really expecting it if I’m perfectly honest. But James told me to enjoy it and make my presence felt.”

Livingstone’s Championship form marginally improved in the second half of the season following his T20 experience with England.

“It was good for me, but my T20 game compared to my red ball game is completely different,” he said.

“I’m a lot more assured with my red ball game than I am T20.

“I do think the experience of it not going as well as I thought maybe helped me through the rest of last season.

“It was only a week, a short compact series, and it was a nice little taster of international cricket and how hard it can be.”

Livingstone, who played for  the Lions Down Under before Christmas and featured for a composite senior team in a warm-up game in Perth, also said suggestions he was the next cab off the rank did not bother him.

“I don’t read too much into it,” he said. But he is keen for people to see that he has many strings to his bow; the ability to graft as well as to hit the ball incredibly hard, while he is a gun fielder and a versatile spin bowler.

“A lot of people have labelled me as a white-ball specialist, which is completely untrue if you look at my stats,” he said.

“I see one of my biggest attributes as being quite adaptable.

“If I get the chance to put the pressure on a bowling attack, I’ll try and do that, but there are also times when it’s not easy and you have to stick in and grind your way through.”

England Test squad to play New Zealand in a two-match series

Joe Root (c) (Yorkshire), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (wk) (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Ben Foakes (wk) (Surrey), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Middlesex), Craig Overton (Somerset), Ben Stokes (Durham), Mark Stoneman (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire), Chris Woakes, (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

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