While it’s true the “Big 3” of Australia, India and England play the most Test matches out of all the Test playing nations, the fact that Marnus Labuschagne has catapulted himself into the top 10 of the ICC Men’s Test batting rankings after just 12 Test matches is an incredible feat and speaks volumes for his mammoth performances this year.
Having been drafted into the Australian middle order during the Ashes as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith, the first such instance of this occurring in the history of the game, he asserted his dominance.
With just one more Test match to be played in 2019, Labuschagne, after 10 Tests, is the leading run-scorer this year with 1022 runs, at an average of 68. He has also faced the most deliveries of 1809 and scored the most fifty-plus scores in 2019 with six half-centuries and 3 centuries.
The patience, determination, resolve and technique he has demonstrated when faced with hostile fast bowling, away from home was commendable.
Labuschagne understood that Test Cricket is not always about being pretty, it’s about staying out there, scoring runs and building partnerships.
With so many batsmen unable to implement this practice of fighting for your runs, Labuchagne’s lessons are even more impressive.
South Africa’s batsmen have been guilty of trying to be too expansive with their stroke play. When the situation calls for a slow and steady innings, they try and score quick runs. They have consistently failed to put up decent scores in Test matches.
The Proteas batsmen could learn a thing or two from the way Labuschagne has played, because importantly, he takes the time to build an innings.
Having opening batsmen that are averaging 27 and 32 which is what Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram are in 2019, is simply not good enough at this level.
In an age of fast paced T20 Cricket, it is refreshing to see a player like Labuschagne that values his wicket and strives to perform in every game.
This has certainly been the year of Marnus Labuschagne.