Liam Livingstone to make his Test debut as England confirm playing XI for first Test against Pakistan
England cricket team have named their playing eleven for the first Test in Rawalpindi in the historic three-match series against Pakistan. Batting all-rounder Liam Livingstone is all set to make his Test debut on Thursday, December 1.
Livingstone was picked in the Test squad for the first time ahead of the Pakistan tour. While the 29-year-old has a decent first-class record, he hasn't played red-ball cricket since September 2021.
He is also expected to fill the spin-bowling role, with the visitors going ahead with a lone frontline spinner in Jack Leach.
Marking his return to Test cricket will be left-handed batter Ben Duckett. Duckett, called in as cover for the injured Jonny Bairstow for the third Test against South Africa of the home season, hasn't played a Test since 2016.
After appearing in all four of his Tests in 2016, the southpaw has only managed 110 runs at 15.71 with one fifty.
Nevertheless, the 28-year-old had a productive domestic season, scoring 1012 runs in 10 games at 72.28 with three centuries for Nottinghamshire. Duckett will open the batting alongside Zak Crawley.
"He’s a very natural cricketer": England captain on Livingstone
England captain Ben Stokes addressed Livingstone's selection, saying the team has full confidence in him and encourages him to express himself.
As quoted by The Guardian, he said:
"When Livi got his white pads out of the bag he did say: ‘What are these?’ The skill he has with the ball and the way he plays with the bat is very aligned with the way me and Baz want to see the team play.'
"I don’t necessarily think that [lack of recent red-ball cricket] is going to be too much of a thing for him. He’s a very natural cricketer, he’s going to go out there and really express himself.”
However, England will be without a genuine pace bowler, a factor considered integral to their success in Pakistan. Mark Wood is likely to fill that void, striving to be fit for the second test.
England XI for the first Test against Pakistan:
Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Liam Livingstone, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, Jimmy Anderson.