Liam Livingstone leaves IPL 2021 citing ‘bubble fatigue’

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The England and Rajasthan Royals batter has spent much of the last ten months moving in and out of biosecure environments

Liam Livingstone, the England and Rajasthan Royals batter, has opted to return home early from the IPL, citing “bubble fatigue” after spending much of the last ten months moving in and out of biosecure environments. The Royals said that Livingstone had flown back to the UK on Monday, before India was added to a “red list” of countries from which the arrivals need to undergo a mandatory ten-day quarantine period.

Livingstone joined up with the Royals after his involvement in England’s limited-overs series against India in March, which included his ODI debut. However, he had not been selected for any of Royals’ three IPL matches in the ongoing tournament.

The 27-year-old was playing at the Pakistan Super League in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic first caused a global shutdown of the cricket calendar. He was named as part of an expanded England training squad in May, as the ECB prepared to stage all of its home matches behind closed doors, and was a reserve squad member for the limited-overs series against Ireland, Pakistan and Australia.

He was also an unused back-up on the tour of South Africa in November and December, which was cut short amid concerns that biosecurity protocols had failed, before moving on to the Big Bash League, where he played a key role in getting Perth Scorchers to the final of the competition.

Livingstone is not the first player to withdraw from the IPL for such reasons, with Mitchell Marsh telling the Sunrisers Hyderabad he would not be travelling in March. Several England players pulled out of the Big Bash this winter, too, including Tom Banton and Tom Curran, after spending extended time in biosecure environments as cricket boards attempted to fulfil their fixtures while grappling with the pandemic.

Livingstone’s return is a positive for his county, Lancashire, who are two matches into the start of their County Championship campaign and will be strengthened in their push for a spot in Division One.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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