From a personal and collective point of view, 2019 was a phenomenal year for Marnus Labuschagne, the gifted Australian strokeplayer enjoying a run-laden summer with the Welsh county, becoming the first batsman in the country to reach 1,000 runs in Championship cricket and scoring five Championship hundreds before being a member of the Australian squad who defeated England 2-1 in the Test series to retain the Ashes. During the Ashes, Marnus also became the first-ever concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket following the head injury sustained by Steve Smith during the Lord’s Test.
His superlative efforts saw Marnus win a series of awards as well as being one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year for 2020. He showed as well that this purple patch had not been a flash in the pan as after returning to Australia he posted his maiden Test hundred against Pakistan during a series of three successive Test centuries to emulate the feats of Don Bradman in 1937/38 before ending the calendar year as the leading run-scorer in Test cricket, and a tally of 2,703 first-class runs – the most since David Hussey made 2,722 in 2007. His prolific sequence did not end there because in early January during the Third Test against New Zealand, Marnus then scored his maiden double century.
During the first half of 2019 Marnus amassed 1,114 runs in first-class cricket for Glamorgan and at a healthy average of 65.52 with centuries against Northamptonshire at Sophia Gardens, Gloucestershire at Spytty Park, Sussex at Hove, plus hundreds in each innings against Worcestershire at Sophia Gardens. These, together with a match-winning 82 against Gloucestershire at Bristol, all helped to propel the Welsh county into the promotion race into Division One.
Early in his stay in Wales, Marnus had spent time in the nets at Sophia Gardens where with the advice of Head Coach Matthew Maynard, he ironed out a small flaw in his technique. It certainly did the trick as in 50 first-class matches before arriving in Wales, Marnus was averaging 31.95. By the end of the calendar year his batting average had practically doubled to 60.52.
The only doubts remained over how to say his surname – phonetically, la-boo-shack-knee if you were acknowledging his South African roots, or la-boo-shane if you were adopting the Australian approach and making it rhyme with champagne. Having left Durban aged ten, speaking very little English and moving with his family to Queensland, Marnus accepted that the Afrikaans version of his surname was too much for some who opted for the easier version, as well as “Lasagne” or “Lager Shandy”
Born – Klerksdorp, South Africa 22nd June 1994.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 182 v Sussex at Hove, 2019; 3/52 v Middlesex at Radlett, 2019.
In List A cricket – 54 v Sussex at Hove, 2019; 3/46 v Somerset at Sophia Gardens, 2019.