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BBL news 2022: Melbourne Renegades recruit Liam Livingstone withdraws from Big Bash League

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England batter Liam Livingstone, the Melbourne Renegades’ No. 1 pick at the inaugural Big Bash League Draft, has withdrawn from this summer’s tournament due to his increased workload.

Last month, the uncapped Livingstone was named in England’s 15-player squad for a Test tour of Pakistan, meaning he was expected to miss the opening three matches of the Big Bash, which gets underway on December 13.

The 29-year-old was already slated the leave the BBL early to represent MI Cape Town in the newly-developed South African T20 League, which commences on January 10.

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On Tuesday afternoon, the Renegades confirmed that Livingstone would miss the tournament altogether due to his growing commitments, leaving the Melbourne-based club without its platinum signing.

“We’re obviously disappointed that we won’t have Liam as part of our team this summer, but we understand his decision,” Melbourne Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said in a statement.

“Liam is a fantastic cricketer and there’s a reason we used our first pick in the draft to select him. Since then, his schedule has changed with added international duties and we wish him the best as he pushes for a Test debut.

“We know Liam had been looking forward to working with our head coach, David Saker, and playing for our club. Hopefully, we can make that happen in the coming seasons.

“We have been in regular communication with Liam and his management over the last couple of months, which has allowed us to execute a plan that is best for the Renegades for this season.

“We’ve already secured Andre Russell for the first four matches and know the match-winning ability he will add to our team.

“This news has allowed us to explore replacement options with greater availability beyond the first half of the tournament, and we look forward to being able to announce another big-name addition for the Renegades soon.”

Livingstone, who featured in England’s T20 World Cup triumph at the MCG last week, has previously represented the Perth Scorchers in 28 BBL games, scoring 851 runs 30.39 for the men in orange.

He has played 23 T20Is for England since making his international debut in 2017, scoring a remarkable century against Pakistan in July last year.

Livingstone, who has not played a first-class match in more than 12 months, has represented Lancashire in the County Championship since the start 2020, averaging 12.67 with the bat during that time.

He earned a call-up England’s 2018 tour of New Zealand, but is yet to make his Test debut.

After winning their maiden BBL title in 2018, the Renegades have finished bottom of the ladder for three consecutive seasons.

The Melbourne-based franchise also picked up Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman and West Indian tweaker Akeal Hosein in the inaugural BBL Draft, with two-time T20 World Cup champion Andre Russell signing on for the first four matches.

The Renegades’ season gets underway against the Brisbane Heat at Cairns’ Cazalys Stadium on Tuesday, November 15.

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