(Photo: Getty Images)
By Tom Harle
In Liam Livingstone’s case, the England cap fits – and he fully intends to wear it.
The pugnacious middle-order batsman was overlooked by his country for both Tests against New Zealand in March, despite an accomplished 88 in a warm-up match.
Places are up for grabs in the England batting order ahead of summer series against Pakistan and India, with Livingstone well positioned to press his case at Lancashire.
The 24-year-old, newly installed as skipper of the Red Rose, lacks nothing in confidence and already feels every inch an international cricketer.
“It was a great experience being around the England environment, seeing the step up to Test cricket and not feeling out of place in that dressing room,” said Livingstone.
“The biggest bit of confidence I got was that I felt like I belonged there.
“I’m not thinking about England at the moment. It’s down to me to bring the experience of the winter into the first five games of the season.”
The Barrow boy’s first focus is to take care of matters with his home county, who have designs on bettering their second-placed finish in the County Championship last season.
It’s a sign of the esteem he’s held in at Old Trafford that Glen Chapple had no hesitation in promoting him in place of Steven Croft, having only made his first-team debut in 2015.
The England Lions regular isn’t fazed by the prospect of captaincy, either, pointing to a desire to lead by weight of runs.
“I’m trying to stamp my authority on a couple of things, bring some new ideas and take the team forward,” he said.
“Not a lot will change, just a bit of decision-making here and there. I’ve been left in a very good place by Crofty anyway.
“It’s my job to lead from the front. I want to score as many runs as I can and lead in that way.
“What I found last year was that captaincy helped my batting and, hopefully, I can carry that on.”
His first outing as skipper was a baptism of fire, Lancashire collapsing to 73 all out on the final day of their Championship opener and suffering a six-wicket loss to Nottinghamshire.
Expectation makes it tougher to earn your spurs as a leader and after acquiring batsman Keaton Jennings, bowler Graham Onions and Australian Joe Mennie, many tip Livingstone’s side for glory.
With typical chutzpah, Livingstone points to the failure of pundits to spot the success of reigning champions Essex in their first season after promotion.
“I think from last year we have only added quality,” he said. “This time last year people were saying Lancashire and Essex were the two teams to get relegated and look how that turned out.
“Sometimes we work better as underdogs, I think it’s about us creating that underdog attitude and fight.
“We need to create that kind of mentality and attitude in the squad and if we do that we can have a very good season.”