As Australia’s latest run-machine Marnus Labuschagne sets his sights on the tour of India along with the rest of his teammates, besides wanting to produce a repeat of last year’s ODI series, he is hoping to emulate Virat Kohli’s consistency.
Australia made some notable changes in their squad for the three-ODI tour of India, the highlight being Marnus Labuschagne getting his maiden ODI call-up. Labuschagne has been Australia’s run-machine scoring 896 runs across five Test matches at home this summer and is seeking inspiration from the Fab Four – Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and Joe Root – to succeed in all three formats.
“You look at the guys I look up to and aspire to – Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Joe Root. They’ve been doing it for a very long time, five, six years they’ve been consistent, not just in one format, but two or more formats,” Labuschagne told ESPNcricinfo before departing for India. “So for me personally there’s a lot to learn and a lot to grow, because I’ve had some success this summer but the real challenge for me is to be more consistent going on and being able to keep putting continued performances on the board.
“If I can continue to do that, then that’s obviously going to be the challenge for me, and getting an opportunity in this one-day series is an opportunity for me to show a slightly different part of my game that we haven’t seen this summer, but that’s a really exciting challenge too.”
Labuschagne has been backed to do well in India by his limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch. Like Finch, Labuschagne is also aware of the threats that await his team’s batsmen. Despite the rise of India’s fast bowling, mastering the art of playing spin in the sub-continent has always been a stiff challenge and Australia would be wary of the same in the presence of India’s spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
“A big part of playing in India is how you play spin, so for me being nice and clear with my plans about how I play spin and then just trusting the processes I have. Batting in the middle order it’s about running really hard between wickets and trying to get those runs through the middle, then when you get the opportunity towards the back end to open the shoulders a bit,” Labuschagne added.
“The whole one-day game’s moved in that more aggressive, positive direction, but I’ve been lucky I’ve been able to move with that and play in this era where one-day cricket is a really high scoring game. As batters that’s your job, you need to put big totals on the board, especially if you’re batting first, and it’s also great because it’s going to be tough conditions in India and they’re obviously a very strong side. So just about enjoying the challenge and not getting too far ahead of yourself, taking it ball by ball and game by game.”