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He is a genius – Livingstone backing Archer to play big role for England

The 25-year-old paceman has impressed in his short international career to date.

Liam Livingstone has played two Twenty20 internationals for England (Paul Harding/PA)
Liam Livingstone has played two Twenty20 internationals for England (Paul Harding/PA)

Liam Livingstone has hailed Rajasthan Royals team-mate Jofra Archer as a “genius” who could drive England to World Cup glory.

Lancashire batsman Livingstone spent two months at the Indian Premier League after being picked up in the 2019 auction, joining a four-strong England contingent at the franchise.

He already knew his fellow Cumbrian Ben Stokes and plays with Jos Buttler at Old Trafford, but witnessing Archer at work was a new experience for the 25-year-old.

The Barbados-born paceman has bowled some of the fieriest spells yet in the World Cup, rarely dipping below 90mph and pushing up to a searing 95mph in Saturday’s win over Bangladesh.

Ahead of Friday’s reunion with the West Indies – who Archer represented at Under-19 level – his is the name on everyone’s lips and Livingstone would not expect anything else.

“He is a genius,” Livingstone told Press Association Sport.

“Even in training he does things so easily, things other people couldn’t even dream of doing. If England are going to do great things at this World Cup I’m sure Jofra is going to be the one to stick his hand up.

“If Jofra doesn’t go on to play a lot more years for England I’d be very, very surprised.”

Livingstone played four times for the Royals, with chances opening up after Buttler and Stokes returned to England, but spent his entire two-month trip learning at close quarters from two of the country’s most voracious workers.

“You can gain a lot from watching and learning, hopefully I have,” he said.

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Ben Stokes (left) and Jos Buttler (right) set the standards in training (Nick Potts/PA)

“Jos and Ben are just two unbelievable athletes and they work very hard at their game. If you want to get the best out of yourself you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to be the best you can be because you can’t look back in 10 years and say ‘I could have worked harder’.

“It was good to be with them, to see the standards they set. Everything is 100 per cent, there’s no wasted sessions.”

Former Australia captain Steve Smith was another team-mate Livingstone sought out during his time in India. Smith is currently enjoying some strong form at the World Cup but earlier in the year was just stepping up his top-flight return from a year-long ball-tampering ban.

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Liam Livingstone was impressed by Steve Smith, pictured, during his time with him in the IPL (Nigel French/PA)

“I didn’t know what to expect, you hear different reports from people,” admitted Livingstone.

“But he was great actually, very open to talking and very out there.

“He does things differently to other people, so just watching him go about his business, being able to speak to him on a team bus for 20 minutes was great. He’s very knowledgeable.”

Livingstone won two Twenty20 caps for England in 2017, batting nervily against South Africa, but has previously excelled at Lions level and cracked a fine century against Leicestershire in his last innings for the Red Rose.

If the opportunity came again I'm sure it would be a whole different experience Liam Livingstone

The next question is an obvious one. Having faced Archer in the nets, been pushed in practice by Stokes and Buttler and picked the brain of Australia’s leading man, does Livingstone feel better prepared for a second crack at international cricket?

“Yes, I think so. That’s why you go out to these big tournaments like the IPL and the Pakistan Super League,” he said.

“I think it’s probably as similar to international cricket as you’re going to get and that’s why I’ve done it: to put my self under pressure in those situations. If the opportunity came again I’m sure it would be a whole different experience.”

PA

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