Ahead of a maiden Test against his country of birth, Marnus Labuschagne said that there will be no split allegiances as he looks to guide Australia to their first home series win over South Africa since the 2005-06 summer.
The Gabba will host the first match, beginning on December 17, before the series heads to Melbourne for the annual Boxing Day Test.
After scoring an ODI century in South Africa in 2020, it will be the first time Labuschagne, the world’s No. 1 Test batter, takes the field in a Test against South Africa. He is in excellent form ahead of the three-Test series, which begins on Saturday at the Gabba. Labuschagne scored 502 runs at an average of 167.33 in two Tests against the West Indies, highlighted by three successive hundreds, including a double-century in the first.
While Labuschagne is willing to take the odd sledge, he said there will be no divided loyalties when his parents, wife, and newly-born daughter watch the game this week at the Gabba.
“My family have adopted Australia as their home and they support me, they support the Australian cricket team. But I certainly think it’s exciting what this Test holds because it is a little bit closer to my heart because it’s the country where I grew up and where I spent 10 years of my life,” Labuschagne told reporters on Wednesday.
Labuschagne’s record at the Gabba – he averages 94.60 in four Test matches there, including tonnes against Pakistan in 2019-20 and India in 2020-21 – combined with his imposing recent form may urge the Proteas to employ the same tactics early in the series.
“We always talk about attacking people in different ways. But the reality of cricket is there’s not many other options you go to apart from; attack the stumps early, you hang it wide, you bowl straight or you fall short,” he said.
“They’re your options, and you just mix through those with different bowlers. I’m assuming that, with their pace attack, the percentage play is there and they will absolutely go short at some stage. I’m certainly going to make sure that I’m prepared for anything they’re going to throw at me,” said the Australia batter.
As a teenage cricket fan in Klerksdorp, Labuschagne idolised South African legends such as Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, and Graeme Smith. When he was ten years old and went to Australia with his family, his idols rapidly became Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, and Damien Martyn.
“Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Greame Smith, AB de Villiers – as a young kid growing up in South Africa, you look up to these guys. Then coming to Australia, and really diving into the Australian culture, looking up to the likes of Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Michael Hussey Michael Clarke – I remember getting a V900 (bat) because Michael Clarke had a V900. As your career evolves you just grow and grow to liking to different players, it doesn’t matter the country,” he further added. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.