09 November 2021

Liam Livingstone hails England batting options ahead of semi without Jason Roy

09 November 2021

Liam Livingstone is thankful England have a number of top-order options but accepts they will miss Jason Roy’s combative influence ahead of their T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

Roy has made 123 runs in five innings at a 30.75 average and strike-rate of 138.2, with a top score of 61 against Bangladesh, but a torn left calf has brought his involvement in the tournament to a premature end.

It is as yet unclear how England will rejig their line-up but Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan have experience of batting high up in T20s and are in contention to open alongside Jos Buttler on Wednesday.

Jason Roy’s tournament has been ended by a torn left calf (Aijaz Rahi/AP) (AP)

Livingstone is well aware Roy embodies an England white-ball approach that has proven immensely successful in recent years, and says they will take that positivity with them as they embrace the challenge that lies ahead in Abu Dhabi.

“The way we play our cricket is pretty much Jase as a person, we love to take the game on and play really positive cricket,” the Cumbrian said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “Jason is at the forefront of that.

“He goes out and imposes himself on the opposition from ball one. We will miss that from Jason, but thankfully we have great depth in our squad and whoever comes in will bring a lot of experience and skill into the team.

“It’s a massive shame for Jason, he’s obviously been pretty devastated over the last couple of days, but the mood in the camp is really good, the boys are really relaxed.

“We have a great opportunity over the next couple of days to try and work our way into a World Cup final. It’s T20, it’s very unpredictable. We have a great opportunity, it’s all about the lads embracing that.”

The flourishing partnership between Roy and Buttler has limited time at the crease for those in the middle order in the United Arab Emirates, although Livingstone stood out in England’s final group game against South Africa.

England progressed from the Super 12s as Group One winners despite a first defeat of the campaign in Sharjah, where Livingstone threatened to turn the tide with three successive sixes off Proteas talismanic quick Kagiso Rabada.

“We’re in an entertainment business so I guess crowds want to see big sixes – it’s certainly something we train hard for,” Livingstone added. “It was nice to get some time in the middle, and to get back to that feeling of batting in a game.”

Livingstone’s first six off Rabada cleared the stadium by some distance and was measured at a tournament-record 112 metres, earning him some kudos in the dressing room after a cameo 28 off 17 balls in England’s 10-run loss.

Asked whether there is a competition over who can hit the most sixes, Livingstone said: “Not necessarily how many, but certainly how far we hit them.

“It comes from the golf course. We have that from our drivers off the tee and cricket balls in the middle. It’s certainly something we talk a lot about.”

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