Liam Livingstone, Nantwich CC

Ex-Nantwich cricket player Liam Livingstone was drafted for £125,000 in The Hundred, the new franchise cricket league that starts in 2020, writes Joe Ellis.

He had a reserve price of just £60,000 but with domestic players being of great importance with only three allowed from overseas, he was drafted as Birmingham Phoenix’s first pick.

The batting all-rounder has been playing and captaining Lancashire in the county game but wasn’t chosen by the Manchester Originals who opted instead for new England call-ups Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson.

Livingstone has been playing for Nantwich since 2013 but it was in 2015 that he made national headlines when he struck a remarkable 350 runs off just 138 balls when he was just 21 years old.

Nantwich CC cricket board Liam Livingstone

Nantwich CC cricket board with Livingstone’s famous knock

Since then, he has gone on to be a key feature for Lancashire in all forms of the game.

He was chosen ahead of cricket superstars such as Kane Williamson (also picked by Birmingham), Steve Smith and David Warner in the draft as Chris Gayle wasn’t selected at all.

Other notable players who were not selected include Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga, Pakistan’s star opening batsman Babar Azam and South African quick Kagiso Rabada.

Phoenix already had Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali reserved in their team and there were many proven world-class players available to the management team which included ex-New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori, who is also the coach for Rajasthan.

The Edgbaston-based team will also include Essex’s T20 Finals Day hero Ravi Bopara, Benny Howell, Tom Helm, Shaheen Afridi, Pat Brown, Adam Hose, Cameron Delport, Henry Brookes, Adam Zampa, Riki Wessels and Chris Cooke.

Back in December, Livingstone was a surprise pick for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, the biggest Twenty20 franchise league in the world, alongside England World Cup winners Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

His 2018 form even got him a call-up to the England test squad for the tour of New Zealand post Ashes 2017-18 but he didn’t make an appearance.

The Hundred aims to bring a new audience to cricket with the competition being, in part, shown live on free-to-air TV on the BBC and will see eight teams from seven cities across the country battle it out for glory.

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