Liam Livingstone reveals excitement ahead of T20 World Cup after two-year battle with knee injury

Liam Livingstone has a smile on his face again (Getty Images)
Liam Livingstone has a smile on his face again (Getty Images)

Liam Livingstone believes he is finally over the persistent knee injury that left him “in a pretty c*** place” as he gears up to play a major role in England’s T20 World Cup defence.

Livingstone jarred his knee while fielding on Test debut against Pakistan in December of 2022 and has been dogged by a series of niggles and a lack of form for much of the time since.

The all-rounder, like many of his England team-mates, made little impact at last year’s 50-over World Cup and returns on the franchise circuit this winter have been worryingly poor.

At the Indian Premier League this spring, Livingstone struck only 111 runs at 22.20 in seven innings for Punjab Kings before flying home early in a bid to finally fix his troublesome knee ahead of the World Cup. Having boarded the flight to the Caribbean on Friday, he is optimistic that a recent injection has done the trick.

“It's not been the most enjoyable 18 months of trying to play with a niggle,” he said. “It kind of drains your spirit, drains your enjoyment of cricket. I was in a pretty c*** place, shall we say, at the end of the IPL. It was kind of getting too much.

Liam Livingstone is ready to put a painful two years behind him (AFP via Getty Images)
Liam Livingstone is ready to put a painful two years behind him (AFP via Getty Images)

"Thankfully, the injection seems to have worked and just being able to play cricket pain-free for the first time in two years is the exciting part for me. I feel like I've got a smile on my face again and am enjoying playing cricket, and I guess that's all that matters really.”

Livingstone burst onto the scene with a sensational run of form with the bat during the summer of 2021 and his reputation on the franchise scene is primarily as a middle-order power hitter.

Carded at No7, he faced only three deliveries in England’s rain-affected warm-up series victory against Pakistan, which saw two of the four matches washed out without a ball being bowled.

He did, however, come to the fore with ball in hand, taking one-for-nine in the 23-run win at Edgbaston and then bowling a double-wicket maiden in last night’s rout at Kia Oval.

Pitches in the Caribbean are expected to slow and turn as the World Cup goes on and Livingstone’s ability to bowl both off- and leg-spin means he looks set to keep 2022’s player of the tournament, Sam Curran, out of the side.

“I love coming back to play for England because Jos [Buttler] and [Matthew] Motty really trust my bowling, which not many people do in different competitions,” he said.

“It's a difficult role batting at No. 7. I faced three balls in this series and may not face a ball until we get out there and we're 60 for 5.

“So, I've got to try and contribute in a different way and being able to do that with the ball or whatever it is in the field. I've got to keep developing as a cricketer and certainly being able to bowl is part of that.

“I guess that's the cool thing about being able to contribute in all three facets of the game: whenever you're called upon, you've got an opportunity.”