England have named their playing XI for the first Test of the three-match series against Pakistan. The opening Test is scheduled to start on Thursday (December 1) in Rawalpindi.
All-rounder Liam Livingstone is all set to make his debut in red-ball cricket, while middle-order batter Ben Duckett has received a long-awaited recall against Pakistan.
Livingstone, who was part of England’s successful T20 World Cup campaign in Australia earlier this month, caught the attention of Test skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum for his eye-catching shots in white-ball cricket.
“It was a pretty simple conversation I had with him (Livingstone), actually before we went out to Australia for the World Cup,” said Stokes in the pre-match presser.
“Obviously, I told him where we stood in terms of him playing some red-ball cricket out in the subcontinent.
“With the skill he has with the ball and the way he plays with the bat is very aligned with how me and Baz want to see the team play. He jumped at the opportunity.
“I don’t necessarily think that not playing a red-ball game 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. So, yeah, looking forward to seeing him in the whites.”
When England toured Pakistan for the seven-match T20I series in September-October, Duckett finished as the second-highest run-scorer, and Stokes is now backing him to succeed at the top order in the upcoming Tests.
“Ducky (Duckett) showed out here in the T20s just how good he is against spin bowling,” added Stokes.
“To have someone at the top like him who can mess around with the fields and make it a captain’s nightmare because he sweeps both ways, and we know how much of a part spin plays out in this area.
“(We are) excited to have him at the top.”
England’s playing XI for the Rawalpindi Test:
Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Liam Livingstone, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Jimmy Anderson.