England injury crisis deepens as Liam Livingstone ruled out of the Hundred ahead of T20 World Cup

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Liam Livingstone has become the latest England star to be ruled out for the remainder of the Hundred, casting doubt over his involvement in a busy upcoming white-ball schedule that includes the T20 World Cup.

The 29-year-old has an ankle injury, which will rule him out of Birmingham Phoenix’s final two Hundred group matches, the first of which is this evening, and the knockouts if they make it that far. Sol Budinger has been called up as a replacement.

Livingstone has become a nailed-on selection in T20 cricket for England since an outstanding season in the Hundred in 2021 as well as a maiden international hundred against Pakistan at Trent Bridge. Were his absence to extend to Pakistan and beyond (England play three T20is in Australia before the World Cup, as well as official ICC tournament warm-ups), his boundary-hitting ability would be badly missed.

England’s selectors are set to meet this week to pick a squad for the seven T20s in Pakistan in September and October, with a squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia to follow in mid-September.

Livingstone is the latest player to be ruled out of the Hundred. England skipper Jos Buttler is sitting out with a calf injury and has admitted he will not be able to play all seven games in Pakistan. Moeen Ali would be the favourite to lead England while Buttler sits out.

To make matters worse, Jason Roy, who is struggling badly for form, was ruled out of Oval Invincibles’ win over London Spirit at Lord’s last night with a back spasm.

Then there is the bowling attack. Of England’s white-ball bowlers who played this summer, Chris Jordan, Richard Gleeson, Brydon Carse and Tymal Mills are not playing in the Hundred due to injury, while Reece Topley has pulled out to rest and protect himself from injury given his poor fitness record.

Bowlers such as Jofra Archer, Saqib Mahmood, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are already on the sidelines.

Wood and Woakes seem the likeliest to have a chance of playing for England in the coming months after recent surgery, although Mahmood was at Old Trafford during the Test match against South Africa this week as his rehab from a stress fracture of the back steps up.

All this will make England’s selection meeting for the tour of Pakistan tricky, especially given the density of the schedule, with seven matches due to take place in 13 days between September 20 and October 2.

It appears unlikely that Test stars Ben Stokes or Jonny Bairstow will be able to make the trip to Pakistan, given the series against South Africa finishes shortly before England’s flight leaves and both will be in need of rest at the start of another gruelling winter.

Thus it seems probable that youngsters such as Will Jacks of Surrey and Will Smeed of Somerset, the first two players to make centuries in the Hundred, will receive maiden call-ups for the series, catapulting them into contention for the World Cup.

Other youngsters such as Harry Brook and Phil Salt appear certain to earn increased chances, while the door could be opened for the return of the likes of James Vince and Sam Billings, who did not play white-ball cricket for England this summer, Buttler and coach Matthew Mott’s first in charge after the retirement of Eoin Morgan.

On Sunday morning, Livingstone was picked up in the first draft for the Big Bash League, and will play for Melbourne Renegades.