Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne plans to widen his options
The SA-born batsman wants to hone his one-day skills and play Twenty20
Melbourne — Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne wants to enhance his power-hitting ability in one-day internationals as he seeks to establish himself as an all-format player, the 25-year-old says.
Labuschagne has been a revelation in Test cricket since stepping up as Steve Smith’s concussion substitute at Lord’s in the 2019 Ashes series in England.
In the subsequent series against Pakistan and New Zealand, the right-hander smashed four centuries in five Tests, including a maiden double hundred in Sydney earlier in 2020.
The SA-born batsman made his one-day debut in India in 2020 and smashed his maiden century in this format against the country of his birth in March.
“There’s heaps to improve on, that’s for sure,” the top-order batsman said in a video conference. “Personally, in one-day cricket, an area I want to continue to get better at is that later stages in the innings, the boundary options at the back end of a one-day game.
“Batting at four in that one-day line-up, that’s definitely something I’m going to need to continue to improve at.”
Australia’s chair of selectors, Trevor Hohns, has said they do not want to “overburden” Labuschagne at this stage with another format but the batsman harbours Twenty20 dreams.
“By no means do I want to limit myself to those two formats, I definitely have the ambition to play T20 cricket for Australia,” Labuschagne said.
“It doesn’t look like there might be too many other opportunities but, for me, it’s about scoring runs in one-day and Test cricket and if I get opportunities down the road then make sure I take them.”
Labuschagne knows opponents will be better prepared against him when international cricket resumes after the Covid-19 shutdown and the right-hander is preparing for that challenge.
“Once you’ve played that initial season in any format, people start knowing you and knowing how you play, so they come back more rehearsed, more researched and they understand your game a lot better,” he said.
“For me it’s about making sure I understand what they’re going to do, and also understand where my weaknesses and my strengths are and then continue to improve both those areas.”