Liam Livingstone jumps into World Cup mix after stunning T20 century against Pakistan as acting England head coach Paul Collingwood hailed it as ‘one of the most exciting ever’
- Liam Livingstone has gone from maybe to must-pick for the World Cup
- He hit England’s fastest ever T20 century from just 42 balls against Pakistan
- The 27-year-old can offer batting cameos, spin-to-order and athletic fieldwork
England’s Twenty20 squad has to be one of the toughest in the sport to break into, but in one record-breaking innings, Liam Livingstone has gone from perhaps to must-pick for this fall’s World Cup.
Acting head coach Paul Collingwood praised his 42-ball hundred against Pakistan on Friday as ‘as exciting an innings as I’ve seen from any of our white-ball cricketers’.
It came in a losing cause and England now need to win the last two games, starting at Headingley on Sunday, to win a full house of limited-overs series this summer. But from a personal perspective, the timing couldn’t have been better. These are the last matches before the September 18 ICC deadline for a tentative 15 names for the October tournament in the UAE.
Liam Livingstone hit England’s fastest ever T20 century from just 42 balls against Pakistan
The breakthrough felt similar to Kevin Pietersen’s with his three one-day hundreds in South Africa on the eve of the 2005 Ashes.
Livingstone, 27, called it “probably the best of my career.” Under the cyclone of sixes at Trent Bridge, it was easily overlooked that he had never passed 50 in an international.
But he was the master of all trades in 2021. A top player at Lancashire and Perth Scorchers, he showed versatility to launch from ball one as he walked to the crease with Eoin Morgan’s team three within five overs, just as he had done done with batting cameos, spin-to-order and athletic fielding in the series against Sri Lanka.
Collingwood said, “It’s very hard not to pick a man when he plays like that.
Livingstone beat England’s fastest 50 in T20 coming from just 17 balls with five huge sixes
“It’s not just his power-hitting, it’s what he gives with the ball. He can bowl leg-spin and off-spin, depending on whether he’s bowling against right-handed or left-handed batsmen, and he’s an exceptional fielder.
“Under the serious pressure to have 12 left from the start, he has shown that he can really take it to the opposition.
“It’s exciting to think how powerful that battle unit could be with someone like him in it. He adds something special.’
Jos Buttler is returning from a calf injury, while Ben Stokes will be back for the October main event.
Livingstone attributed the clean shot that saw him off the field nine times in Nottingham to engineering work in Bristol with Collingwood and England’s batting coach Marcus Trescothick.
Collingwood said, “T20 batting can be like a golf swing. We were just a little bit concerned with how far that front foot goes out, and getting the base a little bit (firmer).’