Liam Livingstone has staked a genuine claim to fill a middle-order slot in England’s 50-over side, according to Sky Sports pundits Nasser Hussain and Stuart Broad.
The Lancashire all-rounder caught the eye with a bustling 36 from 31 balls as he and Dawid Malan launched an ultimately unsuccessful fightback in the final ODI against India in Pune.
But Hussain feels the 27-year-old, who made his international white-ball debut at the same venue two days earlier, should be viewed as one of the tourists’ successes despite their 2-1 defeat in the three-match series.
Seamer Reece Topley also caught Hussain’s eye during the series, while Sam Curran starred with a heroic unbeaten 95 from 83 balls in the final game – but it was not quite enough as England fell short at 322-9, chasing 330 for victory.
“People will wake up tomorrow and it’ll be ‘England lost the 20 and 50-over series’,” said Hussain. “In fact, I think they have got much more out of the white-ball series than the Test series.
“They have learnt a lot about players. They are looking for a right-hander in the middle order and, with Liam Livingstone, and especially the way Sam Curran has played towards the end – there are more options.
“But I would like to have the right-handed option because of Moeen Ali, because of Ben Stokes, because of Eoin Morgan, because of Sam Curran.
“Reece Topley up front looked a bit stiff and sore. The lad’s had severe back problems and he’s played two games in three days now, but his bowling at the death has been a real tick.
“What has been a concern? Tom Curran’s dip in form, he looks like he’s been found out a little bit.
“Also, not finding a replacement if Adil Rashid suddenly drops down with his shoulder. Matt Parkinson never got a game all winter – so who’s your third spinner?
“But they got more out of this white-ball series and that stands them in good stead for both the T20 World Cup and the 50-over World Cup further down the line.”
Broad, who also praised both Livingstone and Topley, believes England will reap the long-term benefits of giving experience to some of their fringe players.
“We have seen some brilliant individual performances and India will be delighted to have won, but I think England have done themselves proud,” said the Test seamer.
“You have got some crucial experience into players that might not be in your first XI – you are missing the likes of Joe Root, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes from this series.
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“So it’s given opportunities to players, which you do need in tournament play because injuries do happen. You don’t want to be putting a debutant in at a World Cup semi-final.
“So the likes of Sam Curran are getting decent exposure and Liam Livingstone, who has excited me as a player for some time and has shown he’s able to play as an attacking player on that international stage as well.
“If you’re looking for a spare batter to be really pushing the guys in your team at the minute then he looks like the one, so there has been some real encouragement.”
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