Liam Livingstone dispels England rift rumours fuelled by ex-captain Eoin Morgan

By Sports Desk October 30, 2023

Liam Livingstone insists there are “no rifts in the camp” amid England’s World Cup meltdown, shooting down former captain Eoin Morgan’s suggestion that all is not well within the squad.

The defending champions have been in dire form since arriving in India, losing five out of their first six group games to lie rooted to the foot of the table.

No England team has ever lost as many games in a World Cup and with three matches still to play, including rivals Australia next up, there is scope for things to get even worse.

Morgan, the man who lifted the trophy at Lord’s four years ago and is credited with revolutionising England’s white-ball philosophy, remains close to the dressing room following his retirement 18 months ago and has sparked intrigue with his assessment of their campaign.

He suggested morale was as much of an issue as form and claimed “there is something within the team that is definitely unsettled”.

Livingstone waved away that theory, defending the team spirit amid mounting pressure.

“With all respect to Morgs, because everybody loves him in the dressing room, that’s completely not true,” he said.

“There’s certainly no rifts in the camp, I can tell you that. It’s not bowlers versus batters: we’re a unit. One thing about unity is you probably get tested more when things don’t go well; it’s easy to say the dressing room is amazing when things are going really well.

“From what I’m seeing, everybody is working their nuts off trying as hard as we can to turn it around. Things just haven’t really gone our way and we haven’t played as well as we want, pretty much all of us at the same time, which is disappointing.

“It’s obviously not easy when you lose so heavily a few times in a row, but the boys keep coming back to training day after day.

“There’s probably nobody more disappointed than what we are in that changing room, but everybody is trying to work together to change it.”

Morgan was commentating for Sky Sports as England crashed to their latest defeat, a 100-run loss to hosts India, and his post-match assessment will make further uncomfortable reading for head coach Matthew Mott.

The Australian worked briefly with Morgan before he called time on his career last summer, but the latter appeared to suggest Mott needed to take a lead from Test counterpart Brendon McCullum in his dealings with the team.

“When you sit back and nobody has an answer in the changing room or we can’t explain it (as pundits), you always compare things across formats,” he said.

“It has to be the intangible stuff, the feelings, the emotions. The preparation and the mindset has to change. It has to be tailored for that changing room. Maybe take a leaf out of Baz’s book.”

The long-term implications of England’s losing streak has become painfully clear over the past 48 hours, with their place at the 2025 Champions Trophy now in danger.

Qualification for the secondary 50-over tournament used to come via the ICC rankings, but a little-discussed change was made in 2021 to tie it directly to performance at the World Cup – a shift Mott says he was first became aware of midway through Sunday’s game.

England will need to climb from 10th to eighth to avoid being edged out, meaning they cannot afford to treat their remaining fixtures as dead rubbers.

“It is obviously very disappointing, but it gives us something to play for over the next three games,” said Livingstone.

“I think Australia are a good team to be facing next. They are someone who, in the World Cups that I’ve played in, we’ve done really well against and they are obviously massive games.

“It will be a great way for us to start our fightback and hopefully we can turn it around.”

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