Marnus Labuschagne will return to where it all started tomorrow when he takes to the field for the Redlands Tigers against Western Suburbs at Graceville Memorial Park in the Premier League.
The batting all-rounder may have risen to Test stardom this season but Labuschagne is relishing a return to the team he helped to their first premiership in 27 years back in 2015.
“It’s a great club to play for,” he said.
The 24-year-old’s debut in Dubai against Pakistan from October 7-11 didn’t go according to plan but he seemed to find his feet in the second match to register scores of 25 and 43 and bag five wickets bowling leg spin.
Though the tour was a poor one for the Australian team who lost the series after clawing their way to a desperate draw in the first test and throwing it all away in Abu Dhabi, Labuschagne returned home with his head held high having set foundations on which to build.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
“It was not an ideal result but It’s about how much you learn in the process that defines the player you are going to be.
“I played with some very good players and learnt a lot about playing on the sub-continent, and about what it takes to play for Australia.”
The South African born cricketer who moved to Brisbane at 10 and first padded up for Redlands at 12 said there was no doubt in his mind where his allegiances lay.
“There was nothing better (than playing for Australia),” he said.
“I was over the moon,” he said.
“It was very exciting to be in the squad and to represent my country was a great privilege.”
Labuschagne surprised many during the UAE tour, taking seven wickets at an average of 20.25 and a strike rate of 52.94 and his leg spin bowling is sure to be valued by Test selectors and skipper Tim Paine this summer.
It is a skill he said he had been working hard on in the nets and had really started to develop in the last six months.
“It’s great to contribute with the ball and it definitely plays some part (in selection),” he said.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a batsman and if I’m not scoring runs I’m not in contention.”
To ensure he is making enough runs and always improving Labuschagne has been flying to Sydney for extra batting work with a long-term mentor.
He knows he needs to focus and contribute with both bat and ball each game for whichever team he is playing for to keep himself at the forefront of selectors’ minds.
“It’s every cricketer’s goal to play for their country,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter who I am playing for, whether it’s Redlands, Queensland or Australia, If I contribute and help the team win games selection will take care of itself.”
Labuschagne said the ball tampering scandal was in the past and he and the rest of Australia’s cricketers were moving forward.
He said he didn’t have an opinion as to whether the suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner should be lifted.
“That’s not my role,” he said.
“That’s how it has happened.”