• Specsavers County Championship 3m

    Giles: Livingstone's a real talent

    Lancashire’s former head coach backs Liam Livingstone to shine for England in the near future

    Ashley Giles, the man who handed Liam Livingstone his first-team debut in all formats at Lancashire, has backed the Red Rose star to shine for England when he gets the chance.

    Giles, Lancashire’s cricket director and head coach for two years before returning to Warwickshire at Christmas, has been delighted to see the Cumbrian’s rapid progression.

    The 23-year-old made his Twenty20 and one-day debuts in 2015 before making his first-class bow this time last year.

    He has since gone on to impress for the Red Rose and the England Lions, in Sri Lanka this winter, scoring four hundreds in all.

    Now, he is being tipped by many to make his full England debut during next month’s two-match ODI series against Ireland.

    “Like Haseeb Hameed, there’s always some surprise at a player’s development when the transition’s that quick,” said Giles.

    “But I think we all knew, myself, Glen Chapple and Mark Chilton, that he had some really good raw ability. He hits the ball harder than almost anyone I’ve seen. He’s a modern 360 scorer. But, apart from that, he has a really good cricket brain.

    “There’s a danger with people who play in that mould that others can think they are just dumb hitters. He’s certainly not that.

    “I think he showed when he moved into four-day cricket he could pace an innings and play to circumstances and conditions. 

    “He’s mature in the sense that he took to it quickly, even going to stand at first slip and being prepared to offer Steven Croft advice. That takes a lot of maturity and guts.

    “I remember a conversation at Somerset last year after day one and we’d already got a lot on the board. But he hadn’t batted, and I said to him ‘You’ve still got a job to do’.

    “He could have gone in, batting with the tail and tried to smash it, but good players still get hundreds from number seven.

    “That’s exactly what he did. It was his first hundred.

    “He’s a real talent, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he plays for England, and does well, this year.

    “He loves the big stage. He’ll have his ups and downs, I’m sure, particularly because of the way he plays. He likes to take the aggressive option, which is great, and you shouldn’t limit that.

    “But, when you play for England, there will be a lot more attention if he gets it wrong.”

    Although Livingstone’s initial international opportunity looks set to come in one-day cricket, Giles also believes he could  break into England’s Test team in the near future.

    “The England Test line-up is probably going through a period of change, and it’s up for grabs,” he said. “But he’s going to have to stack up performances.

    “Each format he’s gone into, he’s adapted. When he first came into T20 cricket at the top of the order, he didn’t quite get it right. But he learnt pretty quickly.

    “50-over cricket, he took to almost immediately. Now, he’s flourishing in everything.”

    He hits the ball harder than almost anyone I’ve seen. He’s a modern 360 scorer. But, apart from that, he has a really good cricket brain

    Ashley Giles on Liam Livingstone

    With Steven Croft injured, Livingstone captained Lancashire during their Specsavers County Championship draw at Surrey at the weekend, a match which the visitors dominated.

    He is likely to continue against Somerset at Emirates Old Trafford from Friday as the Red Rose bid to end a run of two season-opening draws.

    Jimmy Anderson will return to county action after being rested against Surrey.

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