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Cricket news - Liam Livingstone to skip IPL in favour of County Championship

Livingstone made 599 runs in the Championship last season.

Lancashire batsman Liam Livingstone has withdrawn from the forthcoming IPL auction citing his immediate focus of returning to the England Test squad. The 26-year-old, who was recently released by Rajasthan Royals, will instead look to play a full season of Division One County Cricket with an eye on being picked in Joe Root's side.

Livingstone was picked up by the Royals at his base price of INR 50 lakh in the 2019 auction and joined an English core at the franchise alongside Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Livingstone played in four matches for the Royals, in which he made 71 runs, including a highest score of 44 off 26 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

"It was a fantastic experience to play for the Rajasthan Royals last year," Livingstone said. "I loved every second, learned a lot, the boys were great and I was delighted to play my part. However, I'm going to have an increased focus on red ball cricket next summer, so the decision was made to stay in England for this.

"I loved the experience of playing in the IPL, but I have decided to put a renewed focus on first-class cricket next summer. I am committed to improving my game in all formats and I still have hopes of playing Test cricket; the best way to achieve that is by impressing in Division One."

Livingstone hopes to build on somewhat of an upswing in red ball fortunes last year, scoring 599 runs in the County season at an average of 46.07. In the season before last, his tally of 336 runs was scored at a middling average of 24. "I hugely enjoyed being part of the County Championship side last season. The lads played some exceptional red-ball cricket and I am optimistic about what we can achieve together moving forward," he added.

While Livingstone will be available for the full season of the County Championships and the T20 Blast, he'll miss out on the One-Day Cup due to his commitments with the Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred. Despite missing out on the IPL experience, Livingstone, who is currently playing for the Cape Town Blitz in the Mzansi Super League, has registered himself for the Pakistan Super League draft and will also turn out for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League as he keeps alive his aim of adding to his two T20I caps and force his selection for next year's T20 WC.

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