Buttler, Livingstone have done their Test hopes a world of good with IPL performances

Two England cricketers — Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone — might just have done their Test credentials a world of good with their performances in the just-concluded Indian Premier League.

With England’s new red-ball coach Brendon McCullum declaring that he wants a squad of players to “dominate at the top”, the two England stalwarts’ IPL exploits could bring them back into Test contention, given the gruelling summer schedule, which begins with the hosts taking on New Zealand in the three-match series at Lord’s from June 2.

Buttler scored 863 runs for Rajasthan Royals with four centuries and four half-centuries, and became the second-highest run-getter in a single IPL season behind India’s Virat Kohli (in 2016). If the ICC T20 World Cup were to be held right now, there is every chance that Buttler could carry England all the way to the final and beyond just on his own performances with the bat.

More importantly, the string of superb scores has opened the Test window for the 32-year-old.

The right-hander was easily the best batter during the IPL, as he dispatched world-class bowling with ease on numerous occasions. After being dropped from the tour of the West Indies following the disappointing Ashes, Buttler — a veteran of 57 Tests — has, perhaps, one of the best claims to regain his spot with strong advocates in new skipper Ben Stokes and McCullum.

Liam Livingstone, on the other hand, scored 437 runs for Punjab Kings at an average of 36.41 and strike rate of 182. The talented all-rounder continues to impress and is dangerous with both bat and ball, no matter the format.

He could be a useful commodity for England’s white-ball as well as Test sides, although the 28-year-old has never played a Test. He shone with the bat, finishing with the fifth-best strike rate of all batters at an impressive clip of 182.

Livingstone is more than just a talented top-order batter. His variable spin — Livingstone bowls both off-spin and leg-spin, often used by Punjab Kings during the early and middle overs of an innings — helped the cricketer collect six wickets, with a best of 3/27 this season.




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