IND v AUS 2023: ‘He has got a better range than Smith’- Irfan Pathan eager to see how Labuschagne counters Ashwin

Labuschagne will be playing his first Test series in India.

Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith  | GettySteve Smith has always been one of the top performers for Australia whenever they have played India. In 2017, when Australia last toured here, Smith was the top-scorer for them with 499 runs in 4 Tests with a best of 178* and three centuries.

However, this time, India will have to deal with Smith’s clone in Marnus Labuschagne, whose batting style is very similar to the Australian Test vice-captain and is making his first trip to India for Tests. Labuschagne has so far played seven Tests on Asian soil, having scored 400 runs at an average of 33.33.

Former India pacer Irfan Pathan feels Labuschagne has a better range of strokes than Smith and he is eager to see how the South African-born batter counters the spin threat of R Ashwin.

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Very similar to the plan you would make against Steve Smith. He has got a better range than Steve Smith but how he is going to face when Ravichandran Ashwin uses the rough and bowls the off-spin or takes the ball away?”, Pathan said on Star Sports’ show Game Plan.

How he is going counter the rough against the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja and maybe Axar Patel, that’s going to be seen. Can he take out the sweep and can he take out the counter against the spin, I am really looking forward to it, but numbers don’t make him very, very happy in Asia and as an Indian, I hope it stays that way,” added the 38-year-old.

The Test series commences on 9 February, with the first Test taking place at Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.


By Jatin Sharma - 04 Feb, 2023

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