Marnus Labuschagne amassed 896 runs this Test summer, notching up four centuries against Pakistan and New Zealand. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Lord's Ashes Test between England and Australia in 2019 witnessed a fascinating encounter between Steve Smith and Jofra Archer. The England pacer was bowling in the high 90s and maintaining a high level of intensity. Smith, one of the best batsman in the Australian cricket team, was coping it and was making progress. One 96 mph bouncer hit Smith on the side of the neck and he was ruled out of the second innings and the third Test at Leeds due to a concussion. Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute in the history of cricket and he had a rough beginning. He was hit on the helmet second ball by Archer but he settled in and made a composed 53 as Australia saved the Test at Lord's.
The knock by Labuschagne at Lord's resulted in his catharsis and he became the leading run-getter in Tests in 2019, smashing centuries against Pakistan and a double ton against New Zealand in the Sydney Test. Labuschagne made four consecutive half-centuries to notch up with 353 runs at 50.42 in the Ashes. The exploits of Labuschagne has gotten high praise from Sachin Tendulkar, considered to be one of the best cricket player ever. Currently in Melbourne for coaching the Bushfire Charity Cricket game, Tendulkar named Labuschagne as the player who most reminds him of himself, calling the fast-rising batsman a special talent with impeccable footwork and the one who comes closest to resembling him at his prime.
Sachin Tendulkar has said Marnus Labuschagne's technique and footwork is precise. (Image credit: Getty Images)
"I happened to be watching the second Test match at Lord's between England and Australia. When Steve Smith got injured, I saw Labuschagne's second innings. I was sitting with my father-in-law. I saw Marnus get hit off the second ball from Jofra Archer and, post that, the 15 minutes he batted, I said, 'This player looks special'. There is something about him. His footwork was precise. Footwork is not physical, it's mental. If you're not thinking positively in your mind, then your feet don't move," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar said Labuschagne's fine footwork is also a sign that he is a mentally strong player. "...because if you're not, your feet will not move. His footwork was incredible," he said. Labuschagne has amassed 896 runs this Test summer, notching up four centuries. Tendulkar, however, refused to be drawn into the debate on who among Virat Kohli and Steve Smith should be considered the better.
"I don't like getting into comparisons. People have tried comparing me to a number of guys and I've said, 'Just leave us alone'," said Tendulkar. "Let's not get into comparisons and let us enjoy what both those individuals are doing. They are entertaining the entire cricketing world and it's a joy for us to watch," he said.