Liam Livingstone channels ‘inner child’ in six-hitting competition with other England players

Liam Livingstone & Jos Buttler high five
Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler also play together for Lancashire
dates: June 22 Time: 10:00 BST Venue: VRA Ground, Amstelveen
coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

Liam Livingstone says his ‘inner child’ has helped his rival Jos Buttler as England’s most explosive white-ball batter.

England face the Netherlands in the third one-day international on Wednesday with the incredible six-hitting of the pair – 20 in a stand of 162 off 70 balls – from the first match still fresh in the memory.

Buttler said after England racked up a record 498-4 in the first ODI that Livingstone could hit bigger sixes than anybody else in the limited-overs set-up.

“I’m not going to argue with that and it’s actually quite fun,” Livingstone said. “But Jos wouldn’t be this modest one on one with me, trust me!

“Jos and I play golf together and it’s basically just a long drive competition. It’s entertaining and that’s what we want to do.

“I certainly tried to (hit sixes) as a little boy – my little boy stage lasted longer than it should. Many people got very frustrated with me growing up as a kid, even into my first couple of years of professional cricket.

“It’s nice to be finally maturing a little bit. Coming into this environment suits my game perfectly. We have a lot of fun and we have a lot of talent in the group.

“I think I have a very natural swing. That’s something I’ve been blessed with. It’s also years of traveling around the world, going to the IPL, and batting in the nets with different people. Also working with Jos and seeing how he goes about playing.”

Livingstone has been given a stand-and-deliver role in England’s middle order with a brief to find the boundary from the moment he gets to the crease, typically towards the end of the innings.

He went within a couple of balls of smashing the ODI record for the fastest 50, held by AB de Villiers, in that first match against the Dutch.

The 28-year-old had whacked 48 off just 14 balls at the VRA Cricket Ground last Friday, but missed his next two deliveries from Shane Snater before he muscled another six.

Livingstone added: “I actually didn’t know. I was disappointed I missed the last two balls that would have got me there. It’s not something that’s necessarily a personal milestone, but it was very exciting to be involved in a record with the team .

“It’s something I’ve tried to work on down the years and has got me into this team and wasn’t something I did a lot at the start of my career.

“The most pleasing thing is to have adapted to certain situations. It’s starting to be a little more familiar now. I did it throughout the IPL and increasingly in the England team.

“A lot of it comes from practice, making sure you’re practicing what you do out in the middle. Some days it’s not going to work out – and that’s absolutely fine. We’ve got trust in everybody’s ability that if it’s not your day someone else will do it. It’s all about the trust the players and staff have they’ve got the ability to play their way.”

Out of form Morgan skips training

England’s players had an optional training session on Tuesday which captain Eoin Morgan decided not to attend, despite consecutive ducks against the Netherlands in the first two ODIs.

Morgan’s decision was perhaps reflective of his own ideas towards match preparation, or possibly new coach Matthew Mott’s approach to lean periods by stepping away to clear the mind, rather than excessive net sessions.

England left-arm seamer Sam Curran followed Jason Roy in rallying around World Cup-winning captain Morgan during his sticky patch.

“He’s good,” Curran told the BBC Test Match Special of Morgan’s mood.

“I think he’s always got the energy, he’s always leading the group really well and I’m very certain it just takes that one knock when he gets back into form and everyone would have forgotten about it.

“I think that’s why it’s such a good side because everyone stands up at different times. I think that’s the brilliant thing about the team – every day, every game it’s a different player and that’s what makes teams so good.”

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