England all-rounder Liam Livingstone focusing on strike-rate rather than average

By Sports Desk December 18, 2023

Liam Livingstone prioritises his strike-rate and volume of sixes over time-honoured indicators of success such as averages and milestones.

The England all-rounder’s swashbuckling 103 against Pakistan in July 2021 remains the only time he has passed 50 in 36 T20s although he frequently has to hit the ground running in the middle-order.

An average of 22.29 might seem underwhelming but Livingstone’s focus on strike-rates – his is 147.79 which is the highest of any England batter with at least 20 innings – represents the changing attitudes to batting in T20 cricket.

A cameo 30 off 18 balls kept England on course to chase down 223 against the West Indies on Saturday, underpinned by Phil Salt’s unbeaten century, and Livingstone will continue to bat with a bullish tempo.

“I couldn’t tell you how many fifties or hundreds I score any more,” Livingstone said. “It’s all about how many games that you can impact and winning games for your team. I’d much rather get 30 off 18 balls than 50 off 40 balls.

“Your strike-rate is something that you pride yourself on. In previous walks of life you’d probably have a bigger eye on your average. Nowadays I’m all about sixes per game and my strike-rate.

“Milestones are actually pretty meaningless in T20 cricket, it’s all about how you can affect the game and how you can win games.

“It was unbelievable for Salty to get a hundred but I think he’ll be much more pleased he’s seen an England team over the line by hitting sixes than getting a hundred for England.”

After averaging 10 in England’s doomed defence of their World Cup crown, Livingstone has passed double figures in all three T20s against the Windies but his innings in Grenada on Saturday was his highest.

Ahead of the penultimate match in Trinidad on Tuesday, Livingstone wants to have more of a decisive influence on proceedings as England bid to overturn a 2-1 series deficit in a region which is co-hosting next year’s T20 World Cup.

“Hopefully I’m back on an upward curve with my batting which has probably been on a downward curve for the last couple of months,” he said.

“I’ve felt really good in this series, really clear and like I’m heading in the right direction. With two games left hopefully one of them I can go on, get a big score and win a game for England.

“The best thing for us is it feels like from the start of the series to where we are now, we feel like we’re learning. I feel like we’ve taken a big step forward and ultimately that’s what we want to do.

“Obviously we want to win this series but there’s a World Cup coming up. There’s a lot of focus on that and hopefully these next two games can give us a lot of confidence.”

Livingstone will represent Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League next year after being retained by the franchise but several of his team-mates are up for grabs in Wednesday’s auction in Dubai.

The eight-hour time difference between the United Arab Emirates and the Caribbean means the England players on this tour who have entered the auction – such as Harry Brook and Adil Rashid – could be fast asleep when their names go under the hammer.

“I guess Brooky, being a Yorkshireman, he’s pretty tight, he’ll probably be right up at 4am hoping that he gets a few quid,” Livingstone said with a chuckle.

“But some of the boys will get picked up and I’m sure there’ll be a laugh on the way to the game.”

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