SYDNEY – A technical change in his batting prompted by the advice of his coach in county cricket prepared Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne for the 2019 Ashes, making him one of the visitors’ biggest successes in their campaign to retain the urn.
Labuschagne was born in Klerksdorp in South Africa’s North West Province. His family emigrated to Australia when he was 10 years old.
He came in as Steve Smith’s concussion replacement in the second Test at Lord’s and promptly made himself undroppable. He finished behind Smith as Australia’s second-highest run-getter in the series, his 353 runs from seven innings coming at an average of 50.42.
Much of that was down to the work he put in during his county stint with Glamorgan, under coach Matthew Maynard. Maynard revealed that in the player’s first net session, he spotted a technical flaw; while it was something a batsman could "get away with" in Australian conditions, he would be exposed in England.
"For me, his bat path wasn’t great. It wasn’t coming down on the line of the ball," Maynard explained to cricket.com.au. "His was coming from a little wider.
"The reason for that was [the position of] his hip and his back leg. So we addressed that balance to keep his hips a little more side on and therefore keeping that back foot parallel to the crease. All of a sudden that righted the bat path to the ball."
Labuschagne was signed by the county earlier this year on a short-term contract. He eased into his stint with a century on debut and revelled in a purple patch that lifted Glamorgan towards the top of Division Two.
When the Ashes call-up came, he had 1,114 runs at an average of 65.52, with five centuries and as many fifties in 10 matches. It marked a sharp turnaround in a career that hadn’t quite hit its stride yet.
African News Agency (ANA)