Liam Livingstone in doubt for T20 World Cup opener after injuring finger in warm-up match

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Allrounder left field during England’s seven-wicket defeat to India, will be assessed in 24 hours

Liam Livingstone is a doubt for England’s opening fixture of the men’s T20 World Cup against West Indies on Saturday after suffering a finger injury during their first warm-up match against India in Dubai.
Livingstone was injured while dropping a catch at deep midwicket during England’s seven-wicket defeat, when Ishan Kishan pulled Chris Jordan into the leg side. Livingstone appeared to lose the ball in the lights – which were not as bright as in most internationals, with the game played at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai – and immediately looked in pain, with swelling visible on the little finger of his left hand.

He left the field alongside England’s physio, with Sam Billings coming on as a substitute fielder, and took no further part in the match. An England spokesperson said that the injury would be assessed “in [the] next 24 hours” once the swelling had gone down.

Livingstone had earlier hit 30 off 20 balls including four fours and a straight six from No. 5, before taking 1 for 10 in his two overs including the wicket of Virat Kohli. He is one of England’s three spin options in their World Cup squad and again displayed his versatility with the ball, generally bowling legbreaks to India’s right-handers and offbreaks to their left-handers.

His injury may mean England avoid having to make a difficult selection decision ahead of their opening fixture of the tournament. They opted to rest Eoin Morgan on Monday, who will return to the side as captain, and with Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow all certain to start, they would have to leave out one of Livingstone, Dawid Malan or Moeen Ali, or change the balance of their side by dropping a seamer in order to accommodate him.

Livingstone has only played eight T20 internationals but it will be a significant blow to England if his injury proves to be serious. He was the standout short-form batter in the English summer, averaging 54.46 and striking at 167.41 in 20 innings across England’s T20I series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the Hundred and the T20 Blast. Despite a lean run in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals, he offers a vital all-round option in the squad, not least with Ben Stokes and Sam Curran both missing the World Cup.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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