Liam Livingstone 'quite excited by the challenge' of England Test debut vs Pakistan

Liam Livingstone, a surprise call-up to the squad having not played a red-ball game in 2022, will live out a childhood dream when he makes his England Test debut against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

The start of England's first Test series in Pakistan for 17 years faces the possibility of being delayed after a number of the travelling players and staff were struck down by a viral infection the day before the opening match was due to get under way.

A decision on whether the Test will start on Thursday will be made just two and a half hours before the game is due to begin, with the possibility of beginning a five-day contest on Friday instead.

Livingstone was part of England's successful T20 World Cup campaign in Australia in November.

The batting all-rounder caught the attention of captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum for his eye-catching shots in the shorter formats.

As one of the lucky members of the squad as yet not affected by illness, Livingstone is preparing to receive his maiden Test cap, whether the game starts on Thursday or gets pushed back.

"I'll prepare as if I'm going to make my debut tomorrow and that's that, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but I won't be wasting any energy thinking about what's going to happen tomorrow," the 29-year-old said.

Having primarily focused on the white-ball game over the last year or so, Livingstone admitted he had thought his chances of a call-up to the Test squad were slimmer than they had been when he was previously called up - for a two-match tour of New Zealand back in 2018.

Asked if he had felt a Test cap was further away than it had been before his focus on white-ball cricket, he said: "Yep, I won't lie. It was.

"When Stokes and Baz (McCullum) ask you if you want to play Test cricket, it's quite hard to say no to those two.

"I was quite excited by the challenge of it and I guess the opportunity to play Test cricket, to live a childhood dream, was quite an easy answer for me.

"The last couple of days, being around the environment, it's been very different to the previous Test squad I was in and, yeah, it's been great fun.

"The messaging is very simple, very clear and I guess the way I play my cricket is probably going to fit perfectly with the way Baz and Stokesy want to play their cricket so I'm just really excited for what's to come."

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