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Andrew McDonald addresses Marnus Labuschagne’s indifferent form

Marnus Labuschagne. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Out-of-form batter Marnus Labuschagne received support from head coach Andrew McDonald ahead of Australia’s second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch, starting on Friday, March 8.

Australia won the first Test comprehensively in Wellington against their trans-Tasman rivals by a commanding 172 runs. They kept control of proceedings throughout the encounter and outplayed the Kiwis. However, star batter Marnus Labuschagne didn’t have the kind of outing he would have envisaged on a personal front. In the first innings, he managed to score a solitary run off 27 balls as he was dismissed by Scott Kuggeleijn. The right-handed batter would have hoped to turn things around in the second innings but he departed after scoring a couple of runs.

Labuschagne’s form has been a bit of a concern for the Aussies of late. Last year, he played 25 innings and his average was just 34.91, his lowest in a calendar year since his debut season in 2018 when he had played only a couple of games, averaging 20.25. In his last five Test innings, the 29-year-old has scored just 20 runs.

However, McDonald isn’t too concerned with Labuschagne’s dry patch. The former Australian cricketer said that it is more important for the batting department to do well as a unit. As long as the other batters around Labuschagne are doing well and Australia are winning, McDonald wouldn’t be overly worried.

“I do not think there is any great concern from our point of view, in terms of we want the top six or seven batters to be performing as a collective. So while the rest are performing around that and you are winning games of cricket, the concern levels are fractionally lower,” McDonald was quoted as saying by India Today.

Sometimes the conditions do not allow you to put pressure back on the bowler: Andrew McDonald

McDonald opined that Labuschagne is at his best when he bats with intent and looks to put the pressure back on the bowler. The 42-year-old noted that it isn’t easy to attack the bowlers in every condition.

“Over time there is going to be some ebbs and flows in your career and I thought in the second innings, the intent and the energy he (Labuschagne) brought to the crease – and it was only two runs, so I do not want to get carried away – but that is what we see when he is at his best,” said McDonald.

“We saw that at Sydney (against Pakistan) in the second innings, we saw that at Manchester (in last year’s Ashes) where he had the intent to score and put it back on the bowler. Sometimes the conditions do not allow that, and you have to absorb a little bit more,” McDonald added.

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Labuschagne has scored 4,018 runs from 49 Tests at an impressive average of 49.60 and amassed 19 fifties and 11 centuries. His records speak volumes of his sensational quality and one big knock could bring him back to his best.

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