It all started with a concussion for Australian middle-order batter Marnus Labuschagne. Well, the concussion did not happen to him, but he was the one who replaced Steve Smith as the concussion substitute in the Lord’s Test and made permanent room for himself in the Australian setup, scoring 59 and saving the Test match. 

And again, in the ODI series against South Africa just before the World Cup 2023, of which Labuschagne was not a part in the first place, he was called in as a replacement for Steve Smith and joined the team in South Africa. 

Still, he was not in the scheme of things for the Australian World Cup team and even the playing eleven to face the Proteas, but again, the concussion brought him back to the team as Cameron Green suffered a blow on the helmet. Australia were 38 for 2 when Green walked off the field. 

Australia took a while to announce the substitute for Green, and by then, they were 72 for five while chasing 226. Labuschagne must have felt the same goosebumps he felt during the walk from the Lord’s dressing room to the middle. Yes, we all relived that moment after four years, but in a different format. He saved the Lord’s Test match then, and won the ODI for his team, scoring 80 not out.

Nobody had an idea about Labuschagne playing the World Cup or even a single ODI for a long time, but only one person knew, his mother. 

There’s a reason we call mothers ‘Super Moms’. His mother told him that he would be playing in the World Cup, to which he replied that he was not even in the preliminary squad. But his mother was too sure about the same, and not only did he play, but he also won the World Cup, scoring a gritty half-century and staying not out. 

What makes Labuschagne special?

Neither he can score with a higher strike rate in the ODIs, which cricket fans generally fancy these days, nor does he possess the skill set to smash sixes. But still, he stands there and wins games. How?

Grit, patience, and hunger to win games for his country. Whenever he is needed the most, he delivers, MarnusLabuschagne delivers. 

Playing the World Cup final, in front of 1.3 lakh people, where not even 1000 or maybe even 100 people not supporting your team, takes every ounce of strength, and he stood there with Travis Head up until the end, winning the sixth World Cup title for the Kangaroos. 

Who thought that a guy who was not even in the preliminary squad for the World Cup would play like a champion and score more runs than Steve Smith, who happens to be the ace batter of this Australian team?

Labuschagne went on to score 362 runs with the help of four half-centuries, including the one in the final. While Steve Smith, who is also his best friend, did not have a great tournament and could only score 302 runs. The attitude we used to see in Smith seems to be lost now. The batter, who used to take DRS even when he was not sure, walked off without even thinking twice, and it turned out that he wasn’t even out in the final. It shows that he has lost confidence in himself.

On the other hand, Labuschagne has shown character when his team needed him the most. He soaked in all the pressure and played nothing short of gritty innings that will be remembered for a long while in Australian cricket.

Here are his ODI numbers, which might not look fancy, but only a few people would know the importance of him being a turtle on a few occasions.

Highest 124

feature image– (AFP via Getty images)


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