England ticked all the boxes in the Leeds Test against India as they beat the visitors by an innings and 76 runs to level the five-match Test series 1-1. The hosts tweaked their batting order, pushing Haseeb Hameed to open and allowing Dawid Malan to bat at the number three spot.
Usually, teams don’t tinker with the winning combinations but Shane Warne wants England to consider bringing in hard-hitting batter Liam Livingstone for the fourth Test, which is scheduled to begin on September 02 in the Oval.
The 26-year-old batter is in the form of his life and was named Player of the Series in the T20Is against Pakistan. He continued his good form into the Hundred and won the MVP award. England have to make one forced change in the squad as wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler won’t be available due to the birth of his second child and Warne feels Livingstone could be an apt replacement.
Considered more as a white-ball specialist, Livingstone has not played much red-ball cricket since June, and his average of just 10.33 across five matches during the County season is not too good either. But Warne believes his overall First-class average of 38.69 is more than decent and he should be considered for selection at the Oval. “Is there any chance Livingstone comes in?” he said. “He averages 40 in first-class cricket, he’s in unbelievable touch, on a flat wicket at The Oval, I just think it might be time for him to come in – play ‘The Beast’!
If Buttler is not playing, then England has Ollie Pope waiting in the wings and Jonny Bairstow most likely will take up wicketkeeping. Also, Mark Wood, who injured his shoulder during the second Test will be back in reckoning if fit. Apart from that, pacer Saqib Mahmood too is pushing for a potential Test debut.