Andrew McDonald: Marnus is having a comeback, and he will be a different player
During Australia’s ODI series against South Africa, Marnus Labuschagne was a last-minute replacement who took Cameron Green’s spot as a concussion replacement in the first ODI while Head coach Andrew McDonald described Labuschagne as “pretty much a lock-in” among the Australian top four when describing his position in the World Cup plan.
During Australia’s ODI series against South Africa, Marnus Labuschagne was a last-minute replacement who took Cameron Green’s spot as a concussion replacement in the first ODI.
However, his subsequent performances have been so strong that Labuschagne, who was not selected for the World Cup preliminary team, will now find his name among the first entries for the Australia XI during the mega event in India.
Labuschagne hit 80 not out and 124 in the two victories Australia secured in South Africa before losing three straight while he also recovered his form in India in the Rajkot ODI, which his side won after losing the first two games. Head coach Andrew McDonald described Labuschagne as “pretty much a lock-in” among the Australian top four when describing his position in the World Cup plan.
“It’s been a really good return after being dropped and not included in that South African squad. We were pretty clear on the way that we felt Marn needed to play to fit into the team. He went away and worked on that.”said McDonald.
I think he may have elaborated on that several days ago when he’s gone away. He’s thought about it, he’s come back, and he’s come back a different player. There’s no doubt about that.
McDonald went on to explain why Labuschagne was left out earlier and praised his outstanding work ethic for helping him battle his way back into the team with a little help from serendipity.
“We saw in the practice game against Pakistan, the early intent, the scoring options, you know, his innings are starting with great intent. And we love seeing that and we always knew he was capable of that but over an extended time, before his dropping, he wasn’t doing that.
“He was getting that information. And as I said full credit to him. He’s gone away and worked on his game and it’s a great story. If you’re looking for whether he’s a certain starter; if he’s not in your team, I don’t know who else you’re gonna put in there. So I think he’s pretty much a lock-in in that top four and how we structure up is the final question that we need to answer.”
Marcus Stonis’ availability for Australia’s first game is a concern, as the all-rounder is now dealing with a hamstring issue. Adam Zampa, on the other hand, is well, said McDonald, after the leg spinner pulled up sore earlier.
“Zampa is not as big of a concern. His is more workload management. He did pull up sore from the second game in the ODI series, but nothing significant. Marcus Stoinis is a little bit different. He’s got a slight hamstring complaint at this stage. So that’s why he missed the practice games and he’ll be touch and go for the first game against India. We’ve got the main session today and then got another hit-out tomorrow. He’ll go through his work there and we’ll see whether he’s available for selection for game one, but at the moment he wasn’t fit and available for those practice games.
About Marcus Stoinis’s injury status, McDonald said:
“That happened, after the Mohali game – he pulled up a little bit sore. And then further investigation led to that being a slight hamstring (strain). And then he’s just rehabbing. As I said, he’ll be touch and go for game one. He certainly hasn’t been ruled out, but we weren’t prepared to risk in those practice games. So he’s probably been slow, played a little bit with the view to these next couple of days being really important for him to press for selection for game one, and we’ll see how that unfolds.”
Travis Head, who is a member of the team despite not fully recovering from a fractured arm, will continue his preparation training at home, according to McDonald, who anticipates an update in a week.
“We’ll get updates from Trav pretty much every day. He’s pretty engaged with the group. Official updates, they’ll sort of happen, I think it’s around sort of the 11th or 12th of October where there’ll be another checkpoint with how he’s traveling with that sort of bone healing and that’ll probably give us a lot more information as to the final timeframes and when he potentially can join the group. Until we get that information then he’ll remain at home training and sort of prepping his body as much as he can, back home.”
McDonald expressed confidence in Maxwell’s continuing availability for the World Cup and expressed satisfaction with the way the player has improved so far since his return.
“Yes, so far, so good. As I said, that Pakistan game, the way that he pulled up on the back of that was positive. And we’ve got some decent gaps in between as well, which is unlike the sort of bilateral series where it’s quite condensed with short turnarounds. In a World Cup, you’ve got a bit more space, a bit more time for recovery. So we feel as though he’ll be able to cope with the demands of what the World Cup presents.”
Australia World Cup squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.