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Liam Livingstone should replace Jos Buttler for third T20I as England eye Australia sweep

Jordan Carlisle September 7, 2020
England One Day Squad Warm Up Match
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images for ECB

With Jos Buttler missing the third T20I between England and Australia at the Ageas Bowl, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring Liam Livingstone into the side.

Following his starring role in the Test series win over Pakistan, Buttler looked in fine touch during the first T20I, before taking things up a notch with a Man of the Match display in the second.

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The 29-year-old won’t be available for Tuesday’s finale, though, after leaving the bubble to spend time with his family ahead of the upcoming ODI series.

Tom Banton is likely to move up the order to open with Jonny Bairstow but a spot is now free in the middle with three players in contention – Sam Billings, Joe Denly and Livingstone.

As a reserve player who wasn’t named in the original squad, Livingstone would appear to be at a disadvantage.

However, he is England’s best option.

Denly is clearly a player both the selectors and management like and his more than useful leg-spin offers a handy additional option in the field.

Yet, the 34-year-old isn’t strong enough with the bat to come in at five or six against the Aussies, as his average of 9.60 from 11 innings shows.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Billings had a very positive ODI series against Ireland and is capable of scoring all around the ground.

He didn’t manage a big contribution any of the three T20Is against Pakistan, though, and doesn’t have the brute strength that assists so many in this format.

In contrast to the Kent duo, Livingstone offers a bit of everything.

The 27-year-old – who is hungry for opportunities at international level after putting in the hard yards for the England A – brings his own useful spin bowling and is outstanding in the field.

Most importantly, though, he provides real power with bat in hand.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

As he has demonstrated in franchise cricket, particularly in the BBL, few stadiums are big enough when the Lancashire star gets one out of the middle.

His career strike-rate of 140.42 in this format shows that he plays in the same swashbuckling style as many of England’s white-ball batsmen and there’s little doubt that of the three contenders to replace Buttler for the third T20I, he’s the one Australia would be least comfortable bowling at.

It’s close to impossible for England to replace Jos Buttler, but with the star wicketkeeper-batsman out of the reckoning, Liam Livingstone deserves his shot.

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Jordan has worked as a football writer since attaining a Postgraduate Degree in Media and Journalism from the University of Glasgow in 2018. A sports lover in general, he's particularly passionate about cricket.