Livingstone excited by England Lions call-up
Liam Livingstone is relishing the prospect of pulling on an England Lions shirt next week.
The Lancashire batsman is set to link up with the Lions squad after tomorrow's NatWest T20 Blast clash with Leicestershire at Grace Road.
His call up for a tri one-day series with the A teams of Pakistan and Sri Lanka comes on the back of an exceptional first half season playing all forms of county cricket.
Although the Barrow-born batsman was a regular in Lancashire’s Blast side last year, he did not break into the Championship team.
This year, he has done that with huge success, scoring 582 runs in nine matches with two hundreds and four fifties.
The 22-year-old, who misses Lancashire’s four-day clash with Durham at Southport, starting on Saturday, said: "I'm very happy.
“At the start of the year, I didn't know whether I'd be playing first or second-team cricket. Luckily, I've done quite well at the start of the season. It's now nice to be in a Lions squad.
"I'm very happy with how my season's gone, but I'm also happy with how I've not changed a thing and have taken to first-team cricket like I would any other game.
“It's worked out well for me so far, but there's still a long way to go.
"I have a lot of confidence in myself. It's one thing I spoke to Ash (Giles) about at the start of the year, and he was the one who gave me the confidence to play my own way.
“He said ‘there are times when people are going to be frustrated with you, but then there are other times when you'll win games for Lancashire’.”
Livingstone first got an indication of the Lions call-up during Lancashire’s Championship clash with Nottinghamshire last week.
"I spoke to James (Whitaker, England’s National Selector) on the first or second day at Trent Bridge, and he gave me an idea,” he said.
“Then, I found out properly on the last day from Ash. Then I got a phone call to confirm it. It was a happy time.”
Livingstone admitted that, given his self confidence, he has not been surprised by the success that he’s had this year; he also scored a 21-ball fifty in T20 cricket against Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
But he did admit to being surprised at getting some form of international recognition.
"I'd never think that within the first few months of my first full season that I'd be in the Lions squad,” he said. “Like I said, I'm happy that I've trusted myself and played my own way.”
Livingstone is part of a young and vibrant Lions squad which includes Red Rose team-mate Saqib Mahmood, who starred for the England Under 19s with the ball over of the winter.
Mahmood’s only experience of first-team cricket so far this year has been in the Royal London one-day Cup.
"He's a young lad with immense talent,” said Livingstone.
“He's got a lot of potential. You can see why he's been picked.
“For a lad at such a young age to have the skills that he's got, he could be a very good player for Lancashire and England in years to come.”
Champions Lancashire must win their three remaining North Group games to have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
They suffered their sixth defeat in eleven matches against Derbyshire on Wednesday and sit second bottom in the table with only four wins from eleven.
Leicester are bottom with only three wins from eleven matches.