MELBOURNE: England's charismatic batting allrounder Liam Livingstone has said there was no indication he would be included in the squad for the historic Test tour of Pakistan in December this year until head coach Brendon McCullum called up to say he had been included.
An ankle injury while playing for Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred forced Livingstone to miss the long T20I series in Pakistan and he has flown straight into Australia from England to begin his limited training before the showpiece global event.
Livingstone will be looking to make his Test debut in Pakistan, having been called up to the Test squad for the first time since England's tour of New Zealand in the spring of 2018. The big hitter is also the new recipient of England's Annual Central Contract.
Explaining the sequence of events which landed him a place in the Test squad, Livingstone said, "Stokesy (Test skipper Ben Stokes) had just asked if I still wanted to play Test cricket so there was that little steer that maybe there was a chance. But you never know until they actually pick you. Then Baz (head coach Brendon McCullum) rang me and just said that I was going. I was over the moon," Livingstone was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Livingstone added that despite being thrown in the deep end, he is "ready to swim".
"But I believe you learn how to deal with all of that much more in the IPL than you would in a four-day county game. So, yeah, moving up to Test cricket is me being thrown in the deep end. But some people can swim, some people can't. I feel ready to swim."
The 29-year-old added his style of batting will suit the current blueprint being followed by Test side in its success over the last seven matches. England have won six of the seven previous Tests -- against New Zealand, India and South Africa -- with their aggressive and positive play under Stokes and McCullum.
The 29-year-old, who has only focused on shorter formats of the game in recent years, said it was a "really nice surprise" to be called up for the Test series against Pakistan.
On whether he had heard any talk of a potential call-up before McCullum called him up to inform he was in the squad, Livingstone said, "No! It was a really nice surprise."
Livingstone earned his first Test call-up in 2018 after an impressive County Championship campaign with Lancashire that saw him average 47.23. Since then, he has made 1,049 runs at less than 30 and has not scored a first-class half-century in three years, according to mirror.co.uk.