Australia’s latest batting sensation Marnus Labuschagne has set his sights higher after dominating Test cricket last year, as the in-form batsman aims to become a multi-format master like Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Joe Root, and Steve Smith.
Ahead of his possible One Day International (ODI) debut in India in the upcoming three-match series starting January 14 in Mumbai, Labuschagne revealed that he is aspiring to emulate the “Fab Four” of the modern era across all formats of the game.
The 22-year-old scored back-to-back Test centuries against Pakistan and another ton and a double hundred against New Zealand in the summer after a brilliant outing in the Ashes 2019, as the right-hander finished with 896 runs across five Test matches – an Australian record at home this summer.
Following the stellar show with the bat, Labuschagne, who has now 1459 runs from 14 Tests to his name, has jumped to third in the ICC Test batting rankings before embarking on the ODI tour of India and he is looking forward to showing a slightly different aspect of his game if he gets debut cap.
Labuschagne told ESPNCricinfo, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
The right-handed batsman also admitted that there will be a huge challenge for him playing on Indian soil against a strong Indian squad in the upcoming ODI series.
He explained, “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.
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.”
Meanwhile, Labuschagne would like to follow the path of former Australia batsman Michael Hussey in terms of adapting to different conditions, adding: “With the opportunities that might come in the next few months, we'll have to see, but definitely Michael Hussey is a great person to learn from.”
The batsman further added, “The way he played the one-day game, the way he finished off the innings and the way he probably started his innings. There are a few similarities there, but I'm definitely not comparing myself to Michael Hussey.”
With Aaron Finch, David Warner and Smith seemingly confirmed for the top order, Labuschagne could bat at different positions than his preferred No.3 spot if he gets the opportunity to make ODI debut against India and he is ready to bat at any position for Australia.
Labuschagne signed off by saying, “Whatever role I'm given is one I'm going to try and keep. If that's batting in the top four or even outside the top four, whatever that is. 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.”
(With ESPNCricinfo Inputs)