IPL Auction 2022: Liam Livingstone turned out to be the showstopper in the first round of the auction on Day Two, while his English compatriots Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan drew a blank. Punjab Kings trumped in a fierece bidding, bagging the 28-year-old all-rounder for Rs 11.50 crore.
Livingstone struck 27 sixes in The Hundred last year, including 10 in one game. Playing for Birmingham Pheonix, he finished the competition as the highest run-getter (348). Livingstone is also a pretty handy spinner, who can turn the ball both ways. Punjab clearly saw him as an all-rounder, a spin option in the middle-overs.
It was a fierce bidding, intially between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings before Punjab and Gujarat Titans joined in. Sunrisers Hyderabad jumped in at Rs 10 crore, but Punjab were determined and had the last laugh.
There’s seemingly a paradox in Livingstone’s cricket, acceptance-wise. The English cricket hierarchy considers him good enough only for the shorter formats. Former England cricketers, on the other hand, believe he has the mettle to play in any format.
“If he (Livingstone) can face the bowlers that he’s faced in franchise cricket around the world and go well, then there’s no reason why he can’t slightly alter his mindset and adapt to Test cricket,” former England captain Kevin Pietersen wrote for Betway, as Joe Root’s team was getting hammered in the Ashes. Another ex-England skipper, Michael Vaughan, had tweeted saying Livingstone should have been a part of the Ashes squad.
Livingstone’s T20I strike-rate is 158.33, but the Lancastrian, a Blackburn Rovers fan, has seven first-class hundreds as well.
After the Ashes debacle, as the English cricket management did a reboot, dropped the legendary fast-bowling duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the wake of a batting meltdown in Australia, they didn’t include Livingstone in the Test squad for the West Indies tour.
English cricket might still have some reservations about Livingston’s all-round talent, but the IPL auction today showed that Indian franchises rated him very highly, making him the most expensive overseas pick at the auction yet.
West Indies fast bowler Odean Smith and South African quick Marco Jansen got good money, thanks to their recent exploits against India. While Punjab roped in Smith for Rs 6 crore, SRH spent Rs 4.2 crore for Jansen.