Check out Livingstone's performance for PBKS and include him in England Test side: Pietersen to ECB

by IANS |

London, May 7 (IANS) Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to hand Test debut to Liam Livingstone, who has been doing remarkably well for Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Punjab Kings this season.

As the England Test team makes the transition from Joe Root to Ben Stokes, who was appointed skipper after Rob Key took over as managing director of men's cricket, Pietersen has said that one more batter -- preferably Harry Brook -- should also be handed Test debut ahead of the busy English summer, which begins with the home Test against New Zealand on June 2.

The 28-year-old Livingstone, who has played three ODIs and 17 T20Is so far, has been in sublime form with the bat for Punjab Kings this season, where he has scored 293 runs at an average of 32.55 and a strike rate of 186.62. On the other hand, Brook has impressed for Yorkshire in the County Championship.

The 23-year-old Brook has scored 512 runs at an average of 170.66 in five innings so far this season, including two hundreds and three half-centuries, according to "Brook made his T20I debut for England in January and has built on a solid first-class season last year, which saw him average just under 40," the report said.

In his latest Betway blog, Pietersen wrote, "It's about time that England backed the talent of Liam Livingstone. He is so free-spirited and I love the way that he is eager to entertain. He wants to give it a smack so he just does, no holding back. It's awesome to watch. There aren't many better batters than him in England, I tell you."

Pietersen's request to ECB stems from the fact that only two players, new skipper Ben Stokes and former captain Joe Root, are guaranteed of a place for the first Test this summer provided they are fit.

"He's (Livingstone) used to playing in this high-pressure environment and he's loving it (at Punjab Kings). I would have him straight in the Test side at five or six. He can change the nature of a match very quickly by taking bowling attacks apart, Pietersen wrote.

"Of course he would fail at times, but when he goes well, you would have a guy who can destroy the opposition by scoring quick, entertaining runs. Another name I mentioned last summer, Harry Brook, has made a brilliant start to the summer in England.

"I think that Rob Key (England men's cricket managing director) is on the same page as me in terms of picking players with great skill and a proper mentality, with a bit of oomph about them. Hopefully that's the kind of team England will pick for their first Test of the summer in a few weeks," added Pietersen.

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