Liam Livingstone: Ben Stokes' England Ashes return is 'massive boost'

Liam Livingstone hails Ben Stokes’ sudden return to the England fold in time for the Ashes as a ‘massive boost’ after the talismanic all-rounder took a break from cricket to focus on his mental health

  • Ben Stokes took himself out of the sport indefinitely to manage his mental health
  • But the star all-rounder has been added to England’s squad for the Ashes series 
  • Stokes’ Rajasthan Royals team-mate Liam Livingstone hailed news of his return 

Liam Livingstone hailed a ‘massive boost’ for English cricket after Ben Stokes declared himself available for this winter’s Ashes following three months out of the game to deal with his mental wellbeing and an injured finger.

Stokes’ announcement has provided a further lift for England’s T20 side on the back of their demolition of West Indies in Dubai on Saturday, when Livingstone – a fellow Cumbrian – made his World Cup debut. 

And he spoke for the whole dressing-room when he described the decision as ‘great news, both for England and for Ben himself’.

Liam Livingstone has hailed Ben Stokes’ (pictured) sudden England return as a ‘massive boost’

Star all-rounder Stokes took a three-month break from cricket to manage his mental health

Livingstone added: ‘The lads have been talking about it here, and it’s really nice to see Ben coming back to cricket. I have played a lot with him over the past couple of years, and just to have him around the environment is a boost for any team, especially going into a massive series like the Ashes.’

There were moments during the summer when Livingstone looked like one of the few batsmen in world cricket capable of matching Stokes’s box-office appeal – not least when he pummelled a 42-ball T20 century against Pakistan at Trent Bridge. 

Two days later, a giant six out of the stadium at Headingley instantly felt like the shot of the summer. Livingstone was also the undisputed star of The Hundred, crashing 348 runs – 116 more than anyone else – off just 195 balls for Birmingham Phoenix.

But the runs dried up recently at the IPL with Rajasthan Royals. And as England chased just 56 against West Indies, he managed only a single before falling to a superb return catch by left-arm spinner Akeal Hossain.

Fellow Cumbrian Livingstone (left) is a team-mate of Stokes’ at IPL side Rajasthan Royals

‘It hasn’t been ideal,’ he said. ‘The IPL was a bit of slog for me, but I have brought a lot of confidence from the summer, and I still have a lot of that stored away. Thankfully in this team we have a lot of match winners on any given day, and I count myself as one of them.

‘As the summer went on, expectation grew and grew, but that’s a part of the game. With T20 cricket, you can’t get too high or too low. The big thing I told myself in the summer was things were going really well, but it wasn’t like I’d completed cricket.

‘Things can change very quickly, like they have at the IPL. Hopefully over the next couple of matches I can get back to that sort of form and help England win games of cricket.’

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Kumana (third left) and Bangladesh’s Liton Das (second right) have been fined 25 per cent and 15 per cent of their respective match fees after squaring up

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka fast bowler Lahiru Kumara and Bangladesh opener Liton Das have been fined 25% and 15% of their respective match fees after they had to be pulled apart during Sunday’s game at Sharjah.

Kumara had just dismissed Das when he walked aggressively in his direction, prompting a petulant response from the batsman which the ICC deemed ‘contrary to the spirit of cricket’. 

The Bangladeshis are England’s next opponents in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

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