Returning Scorcher says big sixes could be worth more
Liam Livingstone discusses his role as an 'entertainer', how the BBL helped him become a global star, and THAT blow in Geelong
26 October 2020, 10:58 AM AEST
He's smashed balls into and over grandstands at some of the biggest stadiums in Australia and Liam Livingstone believes it's only a matter of time before he's rewarded with more than just six runs for those big-hitting feats.
Livingstone will return to the Perth Scorchers for this summer's KFC BBL after a headline-grabbing stint last season, which included hitting a six onto the roof of the grandstand at Kardinia Park in Geelong.
He also launched maximums high into the stands at Adelaide Oval and Perth Stadium, the latter a shot off Adelaide Strikers quick Michael Neser that the Englishman says was "the best I've ever hit a cricket ball in my life".
When it was put to him that those mighty blows should be worth more than just six runs, Livingstone laughed and said "one million per cent", suggesting 12 would have been a more appropriate reward.
And when pressed on whether he would support a rule change, he said the rapid evolution of the T20 game means it's not out of the question.
"Maybe not 12 – 12 is a bit too much," he told cricket.com.au.
"But maybe if you've got the boundary and then another boundary on the first tier of the stadium. And if you hit it above that, you get eight?
"There will be something that comes in over the next however many years. Look how much cricket's evolved in the last five years.
"There'll be something; what it is I don’t know."
As radical as it sounds, Livingstone is far from the first player to call for big hits to be worth more than just six runs. In 2018, Indian legend MS Dhoni, recently departed Australia great Dean Jones and England batter Nat Sciver all suggested that players should be rewarded for hitting the ball further than just a metre or so over the boundary rope, a proposal that was unsurprisingly rejected on social media by bowlers like Dale Steyn, Mitchell McClenaghan and Fawad Ahmed.
Should such a rule be implemented, there aren't many batters in the BBL who would benefit as much as Livingstone.
The powerful right-hander smashed 27 sixes in just 14 games for the Scorchers last season, clearing the rope every 11.04 balls, the best six-hitting rate amongst the league's top 30 run-scorers.
The 27-year-old says he takes great pride in his ability to hit a long ball, and believes he has a duty to do so.
"There's a lot of people very close to me that have this same conversation with me, (saying) that I don't have to hit for 12, I just have to hit it over the rope for six," he says.
"I'm forever having this argument with my agent, trying to tell him there's no better feeling than seeing one fly into the top tier.
"And we're entertainers; people want to come and watch games of cricket to see people bowling 95 miles an hour, to see people hit 100m sixes. We have a role to play in that. We want to entertain people, we want people to come to the Perth Stadium and see Mitch Marsh hit six sixes with three of them into the top tier. That's what makes you want to come back.
"We have a role as entertainers to entertain the people who pay money to come and watch our games. Obviously, you want to win games of cricket – that's a massive part of it – but if you can entertain people along the way, I think that's massive as well."
Given he's played only two games for England and spends most of his year in the relative anonymity of the UK county circuit, Livingstone says the wide reach of the Big Bash has given him a level of global exposure that he'd never experienced before.
And while arguably the most shareable moment from his maiden stint at the Scorchers was one he'd rather forget – his comical reaction to copping two eye-watering blows in the groin against the Melbourne Renegades – he's in no doubt that the BBL has been a fillip for his career.
"Literally every week I'll get tagged in something on social media and it'll be that video (of being hit in the groin)," he says with a laugh.
"It obviously wasn't the most pleasant thing, but everyone got to see it and it was quite funny for other people, not so much for me. I guess anytime your name gets out there, it's a good thing for you.
"I went straight to the PSL (Pakistan Super League) after the Big Bash and the Pakistani lads were talking about all the different shots I hit in the Big Bash. You don't really expect them to see it or watch it.
"It's one of the things I've been lucky with; especially in the Big Bash, there were a few moments where people either found it funny, or I was hitting balls out of the stadium or whatever it is.
"People want to see stuff like that. It's content for social media, and I guess that's what helps you get your name out there and get more known worldwide, without international cricket.
"I've only played a few games of international cricket, but I seem to have been picked up in a few tournaments around the world. Fingers crossed that continues."