Stokes, Livingstone in England cricket squad for NZ Tests


Livingstone eschewed the option of participating in various domestic T20 leagues this winter, instead travelling to Australia with the England Lions, which had the added bonus of experiencing Ashes cricket first hand as he attended the first day of the series at the Gabba.

Persistent injuries have kept the Durham quick, who is capable of the kind of express pace Root's side so conspicuously lacked in the past few months, to just 10 Test caps since debuting in May 2015.He is now with England's limited-overs squad as they look to exact a measure of revenge for the Ashes.

After a disastrous Ashes returned him just five wickets at an average of 115 in England's 4-0 Test series loss, Ali bowled with better control. Ballance did not feature in the Test series and only played in two of the practice games so can count himself unlucky to miss out.

Few football managers, for example, would chalk up 18 defeats in 38 games for the simple reason that they would not have been allowed to get that far because they would already have been sacked.

We're looking forward to doing battle with them and trying to take this series.

However, he will up against Mitchell Starc, who is arguably the best bowler with the white ball now and hence his work will be cut out.

Should Livingstone play in New Zealand, Livingstone would become the first Cumbrian player to represent his country in Test cricket since Norman Gifford gained the last of his 15 caps, also against New Zealand, in June 1973.

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For what it is worth too, I stand by my initial belief that England should not have appointed Bayliss in the first place and that they chose to recruit the wrong Australian.

"He is a highly-talented batsman and has shown that over the last two years while playing First-Class cricket".

But even as a batsman renowned for his hard-hitting and occasionally extravagant batting, Livingstone believes he is better-suited to the red-ball game - and reflecting on his selection at a crisp and cold Emirates Old Trafford today, the 24-year-old left no doubt about his desire to play Test cricket.

Bayliss's laid-back approach has fitted in well with a group of young, exciting players who have shone in an environment that has promoted aggression and flair.

The Australian, who has said he will not seek a new contract when his current deal expires in 2019, has struggled to make an impact in the Test arena during his two years in charge.

"To see the amount of interest out there, it was quite exciting", he said. "To get a win out here is pretty big".

For Bayliss's sake - and that of the European Central Bank - one must hope that they do.