Australia will take on India in the first ODI of the three-match series in Mumbai on Tuesday and like last year, Aaron Finch’s men will look to emerge winners. In 2019, Australia came back to win a five-match series 3-2 after falling 0-2 behind. India, however, avenged the loss at the ICC World Cup at the Oval in June.
While the visitors will be boosted by the presence of the duo Steve Smith and David Warner, eyes will also be on Marnus Labuschagne who is waiting to make his white-ball cricket. The middle-order batsman is in the middle of a phenomenal run in Test cricket and slammed tons of runs in home series against Pakistan and New Zealand recently. He hit a double hundred in the last Test in Sydney against the Kiwis and ended up both as the man of the match and the series that the Kangaroos won 3-0.
Smith aired optimism about Labuschagne’s future and said he could be an influential player if he kept a level head after his breakthrough season. Labuschagne, who made his Test debut in 2018, has scored 1,459 runs in 14 matches so far but over 61 per cent of those runs came in the last five matches in which he belted four tons, including a double hundred.
Smith advised his team-mate, who is currently the third-ranked ICC batsman after India captain Virat Kohli and the former himself, to stay grounded to make full use of his super form.
Marnus Labuschagne has a real challenge now, according to Steve Smith
“That’s is the real challenge for him now, having that amazing series, there’s going to be that expectation there now and it’s about managing that,” Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“The thing I like about Marnus is his willingness to learn and how quickly he picks things up, and if he continues to do that, he’s going to be a huge player for Australia for a long time.”
Smith himself had a breakout summer of 2014-15 against India and continued to have a good run with the bat and he asked Labuschagne to do the same. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he’s got that belief in himself now that he can do it, now it’s about resetting the clock every time he goes out to play. He’s got a really good understanding of how he wants to play and that’s a huge thing for a young player,” he added.
In the first match against India, it will be interesting to see where Australia send Labuschagne to bat as both him and Smith love to bat at No.3.
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