Liam Livingstone, the 25-year-old England cricketer, had annoyed his strength and conditioning coach on the day the IPL auctions were being conducted in Jaipur on December 18. He was distracted and was trying to get some updates. At the same time, Livingstone was trying to get through the gym routines which he was supposed to undertake but could not. However, all his distractions were eliminated when his name was called out in the auction and he was picked for Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 Indian Premier League for a price of Rs 50 lakh. “I was not expecting to be picked. It was nice when my name came and I was picked by the Rajasthan Royals. It was a nice feeling,” Livingstone said in an exclusive chat to News Nation.
For Livingstone, his selection in the IPL, when other prominent names like Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales and Chris Woakes were left out continues his rapid rise ever since the time he first shot into the limelight four years ago in the Whitehouse Lane ground in Cheshire. Livingstone, then a 21-year-old who had not made it to the Lancashire first team, blasted a magnificent 350 for Nantwich CC against Caldy. His knock included 34 fours and 27 sixes and Nantwich CC finished on 579/7 in a one-day fixture and his team went on to win the match by 500 runs.
Talking about that knock, Livingstone, in his casual manner, said it was his day. “I had not played a professional game at that point. It was one of those days. The club ground that I played in was really small. The team that I played against was not that strong like the other teams which we played. i got lucky and was dropped a couple of times. Once I got past 100, I decided to go for it. I struck the ball well at the end. It was nice to get that amount of runs which did propel me into the limelight,” Livingstone said.
Playing with a broken arm
When one talks about batting with a broken arm, the names Malcolm Marshall and Graeme Smith come to mind. The third name on the list is Livingstone, who broke his thumb during the game between Lancashire and Yorkshire in the County Championship game in 2018. Livingstone looked to practice with one hand and he came out with a heavily bandaged arm with a shin guard. Although he did not get to bat as Lancashire lost heavily, Livingstone was embarrassed about the thought of batting with one hand rather than the loss.
“It was a bit stupid of me to be honest. I only had the operation the day before and I could still feel the anesthesia. But, I was the captain of the team and I just tried to give everything. I knew it was highly unlikely,” Livingstone recalled.
Member of ‘Royal’s family
For Livingstone, his selection in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals is a big step in what has been a roller-coaster 2018. He was one of the best batters in the England Lions tour to Australia and was included in the Test side for the New Zealand series after a tough Ashes series which England lost 0-4. As the year progressed, Livingstone, as captain of the Lancashire side had to bear the pain of Lancashire being relegated to Division Two but he admitted that his selection for Rajasthan Royals helps him overcome some of the disappointment.
“It was a big disappointment that Lancashire was relegated. I still see myself as someone developing and who is learning. I hope to get better with time and experience. Hopefully, the experience I will gain from playing with the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League and straight with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL will help me learn a lot in a short space of time and make me a better player,” Livingston, who has been a big supporter of football club Blackburn Rovers, said.
The 25-year-old was incredibly happy to be in the same team with his Lancashire teammate Jos Buttler. Buttler, who had a magnificent IPL for Rajasthan Royals in the previous year, said it was the IPL experience which made him a better cricketer. Livingstone hopes to spend more time with Buttler and make improvements on his game. “Jos will have a massive influence. I have played club cricket with him for Lancashire and he has been a massive factor in the way we changed our style of cricket in Lancashire. It will be nice to have a familiar face in the camp and in the environment. I can get to spend a bit more time with him,” Livingstone said.
A solid performance in the IPL might not only enhance his reputation but can ensure that his strength and conditioning coach does not get annoyed with him the next time.