Marnus Labuschagne makes Glamorgan return as a marked man

Marnus Labuschagne makes Glamorgan return as a marked man

Welsh government regulations allow Labuschagne to play against Kent this week while quarantining

When Marnus Labuschagne arrived in Cardiff in 2019, he had made five Test appearances and was by no means guaranteed to play another: he averaged 26.25, had batted in five different positions, and had only played while David Warner and Steven Smith were banned. Ahead of his early-season stint with Glamorgan, few Division Two seamers were losing sleep over the prospect of bowling to him.

Two years later, everything has changed. Labuschagne averages a shade above 60 in Tests, and is ranked as the third-best batter in the format by the ICC. County analysts and bowling coaches are scrambling to find plans as to how they can get him out, and on the back of hundreds in his last two first-class innings – including 192 in the Sheffield Shield final – he appears to be in the form of his life.

Labuschagne has pinpointed that spell with Glamorgan as a “turning point” in his career that few saw coming. He made technical adjustments with Matthew Maynard, the club’s head coach, that helped him open up the leg side, and benefited from the opportunity to play a higher volume of cricket than had been available to him for Queensland; in 10 County Championship fixtures, he made 1114 runs at 65.52.

“That stint at Glamorgan certainly helped me, and meant that when I got an opportunity, I was in form and I was batting well,” Labuschagne said on Wednesday, in a virtual press conference before his first appearance of the season against Kent. “The last time I was here I played pretty well but I think I can add more value to the team, and get better as a player each game – keep trying to grow as a player, not just in Australian conditions but in conditions that aren’t as familiar to myself.

“You need to come in prepared and your game needs to adapt. You need to understand the conditions, the bowling, and what changes you’ll make to your own game to be successful and find ways to do well. You need to be prepared to change, and not get caught in trying to play one way. That’s what I enjoy most about the game: finding ways to keep performing even if you’re not feeling that good for whatever reason.”

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