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Kohli backs Labuschagne to be a ‘top player in the world for a while’

20-01-2020

Bengaluru, Marnus Labuschagne’s successful initiation into ODI cricket

during the three-match series against India has earned him the glowing praise of

world No.1 Virat Kohli.

Labuschagne, who has had a dream Test run since coming in for Steve Smith as

cricket’s first concussion substitute during last year’s Lord’s Ashes Test, forced his

way into Australia’s white-ball team, after a run of 1249 runs in nine Tests at an

astounding average of 83.26.

"He's a quality player. We were talking outside... he's very sure of what he wants to

do," Kohli said. "Again, body language, intent, he's there, he's running hard between

the wickets, he wants the ball in the field."

"I think he's got the right mindset to be a consistent player, to be a top player in the

world for a while. He's shown that in Test cricket, he's shown that in one-day cricket,

and I'm sure if he plays T20 cricket, he'll show the same clarity there as well," Kohli

said.

While he didn’t get the chance to bat in Mumbai, where Australia steamrolled to a

10-wicket win while chasing 256, Labuschagne gave a gritty account of himself in

Rajkot, where he briefly kept Australia in the hunt, in pursuit of a tall chase of 341,

with a 47-ball 46. In Bengaluru, Labuschagne struck his maiden one-day fifty to lay a

strong platform for Australia, although their innings later fizzled out, an ICC report

said.

In both games, Labuschagne stitched together strong partnerships with his idol Steve

Smith, who, along with Kohli, is viewed as this generation’s greatest batsman. Kohli saw

no reason why Labuschagne shouldn’t carve out a similar reputation for himself and

become a top player in the world game for years to come.

"He looks like a complete team man," Kohli said. "So, against guys like that, you need

to have total clarity and not back off, because if a guy brings that kind of clarity, it can

really put the bowlers under pressure if you're not up to the mark."

"It's about who loses patience first. If you give him a window, he can take the game

away from you. He's always energetic. I really don't know where he gets that energy

from. He's like a bunny running around," Kohli added.

 

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