Brendon McCullum has no issues with Liam Livingstone’s lack of red-ball cricket
Brendon McCullum is not concerned that Liam Livingstone has not played a red-ball match in 2022 and believes he is a “feather in the cap” for England captain Ben Stokes.
The 29-year-old was part of England’s successful T20 World Cup campaign in Australia earlier this month and was a surprise name in the Test squad for their first tour of Pakistan since 2005.
Lancashire player Livingstone has built his name as a prolific limited-overs performer and has not played a first-class game since September 2021.
However, England head coach McCullum believes that does not matter.
“Not really. I think he’s a good player, so we’ll find out I suppose,” the New Zealander said.
“I’ve seen a bit of him on the T20 circuit and international cricket and enjoyed his style of play. He bowls off-spin, leg-spin, fields well and smacks the ball out of the park – it’s hard not to get around a player who plays like that.
“He carries himself in a great way and a great manner. It’s a real feather in the cap for the skipper and some of the senior players within the group that one of the best T20 players in the world is desperate to be part of the squad because of the goodwill that’s been built up over the last few months.
“So they’ve got all excited for his involvement and I’m sure he’ll be able to put in a strong performance given the opportunity.”
Livingstone is one of two batting all-rounders who were called up for their maiden Test tour, with Will Jacks also yet to represent England in the longest format.
Jacks played 11 first-class games for county champions Surrey last season and averaged 54 with the bat.
The duo will also bolster an inexperienced spin attack, of which only Jack Leach has Test caps, with 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed the only other specialist tweaker in the squad and has just three first-class appearances under his belt.
Despite admitting that leg-spinner Ahmed is not a complete player yet, McCullum believes the England environment is the best place to develop his talent.
“He’s a rough diamond, 18-years-old, leg-spinner who can spin the ball both ways, dynamic in the field and he’s got a power game and likes to play the game at a high tempo,” he said.
“He’s nowhere near the finished article, we know that, but what’s the alternative? Leave him in a system which may not come through necessarily as the product you’d hope for in the end?
“So we get him in here and it’s a great feather in the cap for the skipper and the senior players within the group and the coaching staff, that we believe we can help get to his talent quicker.
“If we can’t, that’s our problem, not his. He’s a rare talent worth investing in, and we’ll make sure we’ll try to look after him over the next little while as well.
“Because if he does taste some success it’s all going to come pretty quick for him and we need to ensure that we’ve got his back when his time does come.”
Olly Stone ready for whatever role is required to make England World Cup squad
‘Any way in the England team, I’ll snap someone’s hand off,’ said Stone.
Dane van Niekerk ‘absolutely broken’ to miss World Cup over fitness standards
The South Africa captain was unable to complete a two-kilometre run in the minimum required time.
Run of defeats has not damaged England’s confidence, insists Moeen Ali
The all-rounder is confident England will be in good shape for the defence of their World Cup crown.
Lancashire sign New Zealand pair Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme
The all-rounders will be available to play in the LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality T20 Blast throughout the season.
Jos Buttler admits he needs to find his rhythm as England lose to South Africa
The hosts won the second ODI by five wickets to clinch the series in Bloemfontein.
Temba Bavuma hits hundred as South Africa secure ODI series win over England
The Proteas chased down 343 at Bloemfontein to go 2-0 up in the three-match series.
Jos Buttler and Harry Brook give England hope of levelling ODI series
England reached 342 for seven against South Africa, with Buttler making 94 and Brook 80.
Jason Roy was never ready to ‘roll over’ despite year of setbacks and low points
Roy has for so long been England’s pacesetter at the top of the order but lost his place in the side.
England batter Jason Roy emotional after return to form in South Africa defeat
Roy’s slump with the bat led to him being dropped ahead of England’s T20 World Cup-winning campaign last year.
Jofra Archer will ‘get better and better’ but England batting needs more bite
Archer took one for 81 on a hot and sunny afternoon in Bloemfontein.