Big setback for PBKS; After Jonny Bairstow, ECB hasn't given NOC to Liam Livingstone for IPL 2023
The biggest franchise cricket tournament is all set to begin on March 31, when two IPL champions will face each other. It will start with a match between the four-time champion Chennai Super Kings and the defending champion Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
All ten IPL franchises are busy with preparations for the marquee tournament. With a jam-packed IPL schedule ahead, some teams are finding it hard due to injuries to their players, while others are missing players who are completing their rehab.
Punjab Kings is one such franchise that is missing English opener Jonny Bairstow, who hasn't received the NOC from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to participate in the coming season due to his fitness. Apart from that, Kagiso Rabada will also miss a couple of games due to his national duties. However, on top of that, the franchise suffered another below.
Star English all-rounder Liam Livingstone will also miss their season opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders. PBKS is scheduled to open their campaign with a game against KKR on April 1 at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. As per reports, Livingstone has not gotten clearance from the ECB over his fitness issues.
Notably, the all-rounder sustained a knee injury in his debut Test against Pakistan in December 2022. He was completing his rehab and was looking to make his return to competitive cricket with PBKS in the IPL 2023. But he will have to wait for some days more.
An IPL source told PTI, "He is out of the first game at least as the ECB is conducting scans to determine his fitness status. He should be available from the second game onwards."
Although the franchise is expecting his return in the first week of competition. On Wednesday, Livingstone posted a video of him playing in the nets. He was the top batter for Punjab in 2022. Livingstone made 437 runs in 14 innings at 36.41 and a staggering average of 182.08, with four half-centuries.