Liam Livingstone praises England spinner Rehan Ahmed as ‘exceptional talent’

By Sports Desk December 07, 2023

Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed has shone for England in the Caribbean to such an extent that Adil Rashid’s absence has gone unnoticed, according to all-rounder Liam Livingstone.

Rashid is arguably the greatest white-ball bowler England have ever produced and, even though he has previously intimated he has many more years left, the double World Cup winner turns 36 in February.

He will be back for the T20 series against the Windies this month after being rested for the ODIs, but the hole left by the Yorkshireman has been filled seamlessly by Ahmed.

Ahmed is England’s youngest senior male player in all three formats and has furthered his blossoming reputation against the Windies by recording identical figures of 10-1-40-2 in two ODIs in Antigua.

Livingstone believes he is getting the rub of the 19-year-old’s reliability after taking three wickets with his own spin on Wednesday, where England’s win set up a series decider in Barbados on Saturday.

“The flexibility that we’ve got – Rehan has obviously come in and replaced Rash, we don’t even know that Rash isn’t here,” Livingstone said.

“Rehan’s been incredible for us, he’s an exceptional talent we’ve got coming through.

“What one of our strengths has been for years is the depth we have, not only in our batting but our bowling as well. As a spin department we’ll be happy with (the win).”

With Rashid out of the side and Moeen Ali likely to become a T20 specialist, Livingstone is now one of the senior players in the set-up and is keen to take more responsibility.

“Mo and Rash have been incredibly supportive and helpful of me bowling over the last couple of years,” the 30-year-old said.

“I guess it’s my turn to kind of take that over from them and maybe try and help Rehan and (fellow spinner Will) Jacks along the way.”

By his own estimation, Livingstone is currently a bowler who bats rather than the other way around as his runs have dried up since ending the English summer with a flourish against New Zealand.

Following a sparkling unbeaten 95 at the Ageas Bowl in September, the Cumbrian has a top-score of 28 in his last nine innings, while he averaged a paltry 10 in six knocks during England’s miserable World Cup.

Asked to pinpoint where he might be going wrong, Livingstone said: “If I had the reason I’d have probably changed it by now. I keep turning up to training, trying as hard as I can.

“I guess maybe just try to put a little bit less pressure on myself and go out and enjoy myself like I have done my whole career. It only takes one innings to change it around.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by We Are England Cricket (@englandcricket)

 

“I’ve had it before and I’m sure when things do change around, I’ll look back on this time in my career as something that was probably a massive learning curve for me.”

Even if he is in a trough with what first brought him into England’s limited-overs sides, Livingstone is happy to provide an increasingly useful option with the ball.

“Being able to affect the game and getting key wickets for us at key times, is probably a little bit more satisfying than getting runs at certain times,” Livingstone added.

Related items

  • Rovman Powell's explosive 46 leads Peshawar Zalmi to nail-biting win over Lahore Qalandars in PSL thriller Rovman Powell's explosive 46 leads Peshawar Zalmi to nail-biting win over Lahore Qalandars in PSL thriller

    In a dazzling display of power-hitting, Rovman Powell emerged as the hero for Peshawar Zalmi in a nail-biting encounter against Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League on Sunday. Powell's brisk 46 played a pivotal role in setting the stage for Zalmi's thrilling eight-run victory.

    The foundation for Peshawar Zalmi's imposing total of 211-4 was laid by the explosive opening pair of Sayim Ayub and Captain Babar Azam. The duo forged a formidable partnership of 136 runs before the experienced Shahid Afridi made a breakthrough in the 15th over, dismissing Azam for a well-compiled 48.

    Ayub, undeterred by the fall of his partner, continued his aggressive onslaught on the opposition bowlers. The batsman hammered eight fours and four sixes on his way to a brilliant 88 before also falling victim to Afridi. With Ayub's departure, it was Rovman Powell's time to shine.

    Powell entered the crease with a bang, unleashing a flurry of boundaries and sixes to propel Peshawar Zalmi past the 200-run mark. The Jamaican's exhilarating knock, which included five fours and two sixes, provided the crucial late flourish. Contributions from Mohammed Haris (12 from 5 balls) and Paul Walker (2 from 1 ball) took Zalmi to a formidable total.

    In pursuit of the challenging target, Lahore Qalandars relied heavily on Rassie van der Dussen's breathtaking century. The South African batsman displayed remarkable stroke play, amassing an unbeaten 104 from just 52 balls, featuring seven fours and six sixes. However, despite van der Dussen's heroics, Lahore Qalandars fell short by eight runs, finishing at 203-6.

    Shai Hope chipped in with 29, and Ahsan Hafeez contributed 20, but they couldn't provide the partnership needed to secure victory. Naveen-ul-Haq, despite being expensive with figures of 2-50 from his four overs, played a crucial role in containing the Qalandars' batting onslaught.

    Ultimately, it was Rovman Powell's blistering innings and Peshawar Zalmi's collective effort that secured the thrilling win, marking a memorable encounter in the Pakistan Super League.

     

  • England’s Shoaib Bashir dedicates maiden five-for to his late grandfathers England’s Shoaib Bashir dedicates maiden five-for to his late grandfathers

    England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir dedicated his maiden five-wicket haul in professional cricket to his late grandfathers as he geared up for one of the biggest days of his embryonic career.

    Bashir, at 20 years and 135 days old, became England’s second youngest bowler to claim a Test five-for in just his second appearance in the format and his eighth first-class match.

    His five for 119 in the fourth Test against India in Ranchi helped England claim a 46-run lead after the first innings but a batting collapse has left the tourists with much to do to square the series.

    While taking time to reflect on a significant moment in his life, Bashir insisted England remained confident after India closed on 40 without loss, chasing 192 to move 3-1 up in the five-match series.

    “It was quite emotional – I lost my two granddads about a year-and-a-half ago and they used to just sit and watch Test cricket all the time,” Bashir said.

    “Their wish was to see me out on the TV, I know they’re supporting me from up above. It was a very special moment on my journey. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought anything like this (would happen) but that was really special.

    “I know I (still) have a job to do and me and Tom (Hartley) are really excited for the challenge.

    “We know us two lads are up against a world-class (India) attack but we’ve got a chance to be heroes.

    “That pitch is deteriorating quite a bit now. We saw some pop from a good length and some roll. That’s good signs for us.”

    England’s approach has been characterised by relentless optimism but they surrendered pole position in the penultimate contest after succumbing to a trial by spin on a turning pitch offering uneven bounce.

    Ravichandran Ashwin averaged nearly 39 with the ball in the series before this third day but claimed five for 51, while fellow spinner Kuldeep Yadav was just as impressive as he took four for 22.

    Zak Crawley’s dismissal for 60 was the start of England crumbling from 110 for three to 145 all out, having earlier let India add 130 for their last three wickets, led by Dhruv Jurel’s excellent 90.

    Bashir, though, was predictably upbeat about England’s chances, despite India openers Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal going at five an over in the half hour before stumps to leave just 152 more to win.

    “India played well; Jurel batted really well towards the end. He probably scored a few more runs than we would have liked but we’re going to bowl them out (on Monday),” Bashir said.

    “The pitch is deteriorating massively so anything can happen. It’s 10 chances to take 10 wickets. We saw how Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja bowled on that wicket and we take huge confidence from that.”

    Jurel was put down on 59 by Ollie Robinson, who let a head-high chance burst through his fingers, and added another 31 before Hartley spun one sharply past his outside edge and disturbed the stumps.

    Jurel marshalling the bowlers in his second Test – sharing important partnerships of 76 with Kuldeep and 40 with Akash Deep – was compared to Mahendra Singh Dhoni by another India great, Sunil Gavaskar.

    “It feels great if a legend like Gavaskar gives a compliment like that,” Jurel said.

    “I don’t regret a bit on missing (out on) the hundred. It’s my debut Test series, it’s always a childhood dream to play for India in Tests.”

  • England heading in right direction overall under Steve Borthwick – Jamie George England heading in right direction overall under Steve Borthwick – Jamie George

    Jamie George conceded England were “not good enough” in their Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland but the captain remained adamant they were heading in the right direction overall under Steve Borthwick.

    The Red Rose lost 30-21 at Murrayfield on Saturday, bringing to an end their unbeaten start to this year’s Guinness Six Nations campaign after narrow wins away to Italy and at home to Wales.

    England had arrived in Edinburgh having won eight of their previous nine matches, with their only setback in that run being the agonising World Cup semi-final defeat by eventual winners South Africa in October.

    George understood the negative reaction to losing the Calcutta Cup match for a fourth year in succession – the first time that had happened since 1896. However, the 33-year-old rejected the suggestion that talk of English progress since last summer had been overblown.

    “If you look at our run of form over the last nine/10 games, we’ve won a lot of them,” George pointed out.

    “If you look at the more global picture of where we are as a team and how we are progressing as a team, if you take a step back and look at it as a whole, there are a lot of positive signs.

    “Do we need to get better? Absolutely. Are we doing everything we can to do that? Yes.”

    George felt England gave a snapshot of their potential in the opening quarter at Murrayfield, when George Furbank’s try helped them open up a 10-0 lead and knock the Scots out of their stride.

    However, he knows they fell out of the game all too easily thereafter as Duhan Van Der Merwe scored a hat-trick to turn the game heavily in the hosts’ favour before a 67th minute score from England substitute Immanuel Feyi-Waboso reduced the deficit to nine points.

    “The foundations are good but as players we need to execute the gameplan better,” said George. “We knew it would be difficult coming up here, with the history that goes into the game, but we weren’t good enough.

    “One thing that hopefully the fans saw in the first 20 minutes of the game is a blueprint for how we want to play as a team. Now it’s about our ability to do it for 80 minutes.

    “There will be things that we look back on and go, ‘that’s what English rugby needs to be about, that’s what this team needs to be about going forward’.

    “I think we saw a lot of that in the first 20 minutes but I didn’t see it in the second 20 and the contrast will be pretty clear when we look back at it.

    “It’s a huge learning for us. We’re a young team excited to learn and we need to learn fast going ahead to the Ireland game.”

    George courageously led England into the Murrayfield showdown just over a week after losing his mother Jane following a short battle with lung cancer.

    Asked if it was important for him to get a couple of days off to take stock before returning to camp to prepare for the home match against Ireland a week on Saturday, the hooker said: “Yes, I guess so.

    “We’re assembling again on Wednesday. It’s important for everyone to get some time off in these breaks. Test rugby can be pretty cruel at times and we saw that today.

    “I think it’s important for everyone to spend some time with their families.”

    Despite Saturday’s setback, George was already looking forward to hosting Grand Slam-chasing Ireland.

    “The fact we are back at Twickenham is very exciting to me,” he said. “We’ve spoken a lot about the record we want to create at Twickenham and how hard a place it needs to be for opposition to come to.

    “That’s very much going to be our focus. Ireland are a great team, we know that, but we’re going to be a very tough team to beat at Twickenham.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.