Liam Livingstone stepped down as Lancashire captain last night, with the Barrow-born batsman relinquishing the role so he can concentrate on his own form.

The 25-year-old had led the Red Rose county for one season, during which he led them to Finals Day of the Vitality Blast, only for it to end in relegation from Division One of the County Championship.

Livingstone was awarded the captaincy after a hugely successful 2017 campaign that saw him average nearly 50 in first-class cricket and smash a match-winning double century against Warwickshire.

His form during that year earned him an England call-up, with his international debut coming in a T20 against South Africa at Taunton and he toured New Zealand with the Test squad earlier this year.

However, after replacing Steven Croft as captain, Livingstone’s form dipped in a campaign disrupted by a fractured thumb and averaged just 24 in the County Championship, only passing 50 once.

Livingstone said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the Red Rose in 2018 and my decision to stand down is something that I’ve thought long and hard about.

“A big part of me wanted to continue leading the side, but I have to put the team’s interests first and the best way for me to help Lancashire is to ensure that I’m performing consistently to the best of my abilities in all formats of the game.

“I hope that the opportunity to captain Lancashire will come again once I’ve been able to perform at the highest level on a consistent basis.

“As a senior player, I will support the team in all ways possible and I’m determined to put in some more match winning performances for Lancashire.”

While Livingstone struggled in red-ball cricket, with the white ball he had more success, as he averaged just over 45 in the Blast and struck his first T20 century against Derbyshire off just 49 balls.

Lancashire were eventually defeated by Worcestershire in the semi-finals at Worcestershire, but Livingstone’s destructive limited-overs form earned him a place in the England Lions one-day and T20 squads for their upcoming tour of UAE, against Pakistan A.

Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple said: “We fully support his decision to stand down as captain of the club.

“It’s a very brave and selfless one for him to make and I believe having him solely focused on scoring runs for Lancashire will be for the good of the team.

“Being a 24-year-old captain at a big club like Lancashire is not easy and he showed a huge amount of character in leading the side last year, despite the disappointment of the injury he picked up halfway through the season and his fluctuating form.

“Liam’s qualities as a captain are not in question and we both agree that Liam needs to be performing at his best for the team to be successful in 2019.

“We would welcome Liam back as captain of the club should the opportunity present itself at any time in the future.”