BBL 2022: Melbourne Renegades dealt frustrating blow after surprise Liam Livingstone Test call-up, cricket news

The Melbourne Renegades have been dealt a frustrating blow ahead of the Big Bash League, with No. 1 Draft pick Liam Livingstone set to be unavailable for the start of the T20 competition due to international commitments.

On Wednesday, the uncapped Livingstone was named in England’s 15-player squad for a Test tour of Pakistan, which is scheduled to conclude on December 21.

The 29-year-old is subsequently expected to miss the opening three matches of the BBL, which gets underway on December 13.

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Livingstone was already slated the leave the Big Bash early to represent MI Cape Town in the newly-developed South African T20 league, which commences on January 10.

The powerful right-hander is therefore only available for six of the Renegades’ 14 group stage matches.

“We congratulate Liam on being named in the England squad to play Pakistan, where he will be in the frame to make his Test debut,” Melbourne Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said in a statement.

“We’ve been aware of this possibility for a little while now and have been working through Liam’s availability and what’s best for the Renegades.

“We believe Liam can still have a big impact for us in BBL|12, and in our recent discussions, he’s still looking forward to being part of our team, being back in the BBL and playing as many games as he can for our club following his international commitments.

“We’ll continue to work with Liam over the coming weeks as to exactly how this looks.

“At the same time, we have already been working behind the scenes on finding the best player for our needs when Liam is unavailable. There are several world-class players who are now available to us during this period, and we will leave no stone unturned to give our team the best chance of success this season.”

After winning their maiden BBL title in 2018, the Renegades have finished bottom of the ladder for three consecutive seasons.

The Melbourne-based franchise, who also picked up Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman and West Indian tweaker Akeal Hosein in the inaugural BBL Draft, will be permitted to secure an international replacement player in Livingstone’s absence.

“As is the case in all T20 competitions, changing player availabilities are not unprecedented or unexpected,” the Big Bash League said in a statement.

“We are well prepared to assist all clubs to navigate changing international commitments for overseas players.

“The strength of the Draft nominations pool means the Renegades now have a number of world class options to select from while Liam is unavailable.”

Player availability was the biggest talking point from August’s BBL Draft, with several high-profile cricketers ignored by the eight clubs.

Former South African captain Faf du Plessis and two-time T20 World Cup champion Andre Russell went unpicked, presumably because they were not available for the finals series.

Livingstone has previously represented the Perth Scorchers in 28 BBL games, scoring 851 runs 30.39 for the men in orange.

He has played 23 T20Is for England since making his international debut in 2017, scoring a remarkable century against Pakistan in July last year.

Livingstone, who has not played a first-class match in more than 12 months, has represented Lancashire in the County Championship since the start 2020, averaging 12.67 with the bat during that time.

He earned a call-up England’s 2018 tour of New Zealand, but is yet to make his Test debut.

Keaton Jennings, Ben Duckett and Will Jacks were the other surprise inclusions for England ahead of their first Test tour of Pakistan since 2005.

Alex Lees and Matthew Potts missed out, while veteran Stuart Broad is unavailable for the historic tour due to paternity leave.

“The selectors have picked a squad for the conditions we can expect in Pakistan,” national selector Rob Key said in a statement.

“There is a strong blend of youth and experience and players who will adapt well to the types of pitches we are likely to get across the three-match series.

“We are looking forward to touring Pakistan as a Test team for the first time since 2005.

“It will be a historic tour and a compelling series against a good side. I wish the players every success, especially those new to the squad and those returning after a period of time away.”

England Test squad for Pakistan tour

Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Mark Wood

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