No pressure, but Marnus remains run-hungry
FREE of concern about his Test spot, Marnus Labuschagne heads into the Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia starting today in a good place.
The Queensland batsman has converted his Ashes form into a red-hot start to the domestic summer, with three halfcenturies from four shield innings. The left-hander also top-scored with 87 off 89 deliveries in Thursday’s one-day cup win over the Warriors on the Gold Coast, meaning he’s now scored 364 runs at 60.66 in that competition.
It’s form which ensures he’s a lock for the first Test team against Pakistan in Brisbane later this month, a situation the 25-year-old both enjoys and is wary of.
“It’s always nice when you have that bit of freedom, but that can always be a negative sometimes because you can almost relax too much and not put the runs on the board,” Labuschagne said.
While his Test spot is in no doubt, there are plenty of players from both teams who will be hoping to use the Gabba match to press claims.
Bulls captain Usman Khawaja and opener Joe Burns missed out in Thursday’s 50over Metricon Stadium contest and know only big scores will force them into selector’s thoughts.
Former Test opener Matt Renshaw will miss the match with the same illness which ruled him out of the one-day game, with Mark Steketee to replace him in the Bulls squad.
Another couple of ex-Test players, WA duo Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh, could also force their way into Australia discussions with good displays against the Bulls.
The pair put together a 152run third-wicket stand in Thursday’s one-day match before WA lost 8-53 and the game. Bancroft made 72, his third 70-plus limited-overs score this summer.
The right-hander’s shield form has however been less impressive.