Don’t have much intel on the wickets: Labuschagne ahead of Pakistan tour

Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne admitted that the side doesn’t have much information about how pitches in Pakistan will behave during the tour but is trying his best to prepare well against the spinners. March 2022 will see Australia making a trip to Pakistan after 24 years, starting with Tests in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi.

“It’s a really exciting challenge to go over there. We don’t really know what we’ll get, we don’t have much intel on the wickets. If the wickets are what I’ve heard they are — they’ve got a good pace attack and they have some pace in their wickets — well we’ve had plenty of practice on fast, bouncy wickets at the Gabba, so think we’ve got that covered,” Labuschagne was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“One part we don’t have covered is spin. We don’t necessarily have too many wickets around our country that spin. You can only do your best with recreating conditions that you face, then from there you try to make sure you are prepared when you get out there,” added Labuschagne, who has played 23 Tests for Australia since 2018.

In order to prepare well for the spin challenge in Pakistan, Labuschagne has used an innovative method that features using a homemade rubber mat with aluminum strips taped and batting on it at his home balcony.

Labuschagne explained his unique methods of preparation before departing for Pakistan.

“I thought what is the best way I can recreate spin. But not just consistent spin because that’s quite easy to recreate…but where some (balls) spin, some slide and where you can”t really predict what it’s doing.”

Labuschagne, currently the number one men’s Test batter, hasn’t played a Test in overseas conditions since the Covid-19 pandemic came into the world. But with tours of Pakistan followed by Sri Lanka and India, Labuschagne is keen to prove his mettle abroad.

“I feel very privileged to currently be the No. 1 but I also feel the challenge. I haven’t played much away from home, so really looking forward to the challenge and hopefully stand up to the different conditions we’ll play (in) over the next two years.”

Labuschagne, 27, signed off by expressing gratefulness to former head coach Justin Langer, who resigned from the job in the first week of February. “I got along really well with JL, had a great relationship, and have a lot to be thankful for. He had the faith in me when I was averaging 30, saw something in me and gave me an opportunity, so I’ll always be thankful for him for that. But as a professional sport, it moves quickly and we just have to move forward and take on the next challenge without him.”

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