Marnus Labuschagne hit a purple spot in the 2021 Twenty20 (T20) explosion in England. Australia’s Labuschagne, one of Glamorgan’s overseas players, has so far scored 261 runs from five matches, at a hit rate of 135.23 with three consecutive fifties. He was not selected for Australia’s tour of the West Indies due to travel and quarantine issues, and is expected to be at Glamorgan until July 22.
Since his international debut against Pakistan in 2018, Labuschagne (26) has grown up and is currently the third batsman in Test cricket.
Labuschagne talks about his T20 game, strengths and weaknesses and aspirations for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
What role, do you believe, can you play in the Australian T20 team?
My role is to judge the game and play the situation no matter what I want to do. It could be different for an opener, as his task could be to hit 160 or 170 in the first six overs. I’m considering a broader thing – if it’s a low chase, I need to make sure I finish games. My job is to understand what is needed here now, rather than trying to hit at 200. But if the situation requires me to play at a higher strike rate, this is what I will try to do.
Have you ever worried that changing your batting for T20s would have an impact on your Test cricket?
No. I put things in different categories. My T20 batting is completely different from the way I play red ball cricket. My setup is different. The way I think about it is different. But you have to remember that good cricket shots are still the right way to take a turn. They still carry value. My strong points are probably to read and adapt the game. I rely on playing more touchdowns, beating fielders and keeping the bowler ahead. My T20 game is currently underway. I talked to our (Glamorgan) coach Matt Mattnard here about certain areas in which I want to keep improving. In the T20s, I look for that frontier option early in a career. I have a slightly wider attitude, maybe a little more leg side of the ball, as opposed to the outside like I was usually in Test cricket. There is also a lot of spin bowling and a lot of guys bowl in the 115-120 km / h bracket, so the deliveries of the deliveries play … to find areas on the ground to hit the ball hard. Often, if you have balls of good length, you can not just play with a straight bat. I give myself space and try to hit the ball hard with a crossbar on the ground … Sometimes in the middle overs I try to predict what a bowler is going to bowl, try to have that boundary option and am also ready when he not bowling in that area.
Marnus Labuschagne: The Australian Twenty20 team is very strong and consistent. This is a dangerous side. – GETTY IMAGES
Marnus, the T20 batsman, what is he chasing – special innings or consistency?
I want to play more than just one special beat. For me, a special beat is every time we win a game, and I’m there at the end, or I’ve made a big contribution. If the game requires me to play a special beat to win, then this is what I want to do. That said, I do not chase special knocks. I chase victories.
What’s the most adventurous hold you’ve ever played?
One of the shots I played the other day against Gloucestershire where I went over the stumps to shoot the ball but the bowler went wide and I was still able to adjust and hit a boundary through the short third man area . If you’re trying to hit a boundary in a certain area … then adjust and still get four runs [when the bowler changes plans]… I appreciate it as a very good shot. If I can do it more often, it will make me a much better player. Usually it is difficult to reach a boundary when it is not in the zone, if you are focused on the score by one section of the ground. There were also a lot of shots I played and thought, ‘Yeah, I did not know I had it in me’.
Do you practice these shots in the nets before a T20 match?
When I hit the nets here [in England], it’s about hitting sixes .. hitting the ball hard, because my power is more to manipulate field, and I feel it’s not necessarily a skill that’s easy to practice in the nets. I leave it for the game when I get the visuals of the field in real time. In the nets I do not use my touch game so much. It’s more about using my power measurement.
As a global cricketer, who is your person to discuss T20 cricket?
I talked a lot with my coach at home, Neil D’Costa. Matt Maynard here, just about the game and where I can improve … if I ask the questions … I already know where I can improve .. so it’s more about how I can achieve it. Currently, it’s about learning to be more in those situations. I’ve only played 21 T20 games, which is not much … the best way for me is to be out there and try to learn what risks I should take and when.
The T20 World Cup is planned in India later this year. What are you and Australia’s aspirations for the event?
I hope we win the World Cup. The Australian Twenty20 team is very strong and consistent. This is a dangerous side. We have to keep playing high quality cricket … I would like to be part of the group that goes to the World Cup. My focus right now is just to win Glamorgan the Blast. If that means I miss the bat some days, I can contribute more as a bowler. If I miss the ball, I can do it on the field. I always try to contribute. You can not look far ahead because you know what the game is doing. It can turn very fast (smile).