Marnus Labuschagne is making a career out of being the super sub, says Tim Paine
Labuschagne came in as a concussion substitute, replacing Cameron Green, and played a match-winning knock of 80 off 93 balls as a number eight batter to guide his side to victory
HOBART: Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine said he wasn’t shocked to see how well Marnus Labuschagne adapted during the ODI series opener against South Africa, pointing out that the right-handed batter is making a career out of being a super substitute.
Labuschagne came in as a concussion substitute, replacing Cameron Green, and played a match-winning knock of 80 off 93 balls as a number eight batter to guide his side to victory. He came after Green was hit behind the left ear when he went on to duck Kagiso Rabada's 140kph-plus ball which angled in from the off stump.
"He is the super sub. If you ever have a player concussed, the man you want walking into bat is Marnus and he's making a career out of it. His Test career took off from the Steve Smith concussion and potentially he's just got himself in a World Cup or certainly in contention after the nasty blow to Cam Green last night.
"He would have been hoping that he (Green) wasn't too badly hurt, but hoping he retired to have a hit (laughs). It was interesting because when he was initially hit, he was the first bloke out there with the drinks as well.”
"To be able to go from the mindset of, ‘I'm having a day off today’, feet up and running a few drinks … to switch on like that in an international game of cricket, go out and perform and win your team the game that you weren't even starting in. It shows again that the confidence he's got in his ability,” said Paine on SEN Radio.
Labuschagne currently isn’t in Australia’s provisional 15-man squad for the upcoming Men’s ODI World Cup in India and came into the series in South Africa after premier batter Steve Smith was ruled out due to a wrist injury.
The second ODI between South Africa and Australia will happen on Saturday in Bloemfontein. Paine also called for Labuschagne’s inclusion into the World Cup squad as a skilled batter and pondered whether his impressive knock will force the hand of selectors in including him.
"These are provisional squads until the 28th (of September). All the teams that are playing at the moment, they had to name a squad. I don't think they were rapt that they had to name a squad, but they had to. Obviously, they try and name it as close to what they think they will go with, but they'll also be using the next month to experiment.
"We saw Tim David come into the squad (against South Africa). Marnus got an opportunity last night. If you looked at the Australian side, don't worry about the World Cup squad, it had Josh Inglis batting at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
"That tells me that right now or before last night, the Australian selectors and coaching staff see Josh Inglis, not only as the backup wicketkeeper, but they see him as a better One Day middle order option than Marnus. Now Marnus goes out and performs under pressure again like he always does last night. Does that now change that?" Paine said.