Marnus Labuschagne’s chances of playing in the ODI World Cup appear to be over after he was left out of squads to play in South Africa and India next month, but he will get an opportunity to impress selectors by playing for Australia A against New Zealand A.
Labuschagne was the conspicuous exclusion from Australia’s 18-man One-Day International team for the next matches, which will serve as the preliminary group for the World Cup in October.
Australia will restrict their list to 15 names early next month, but they will be able to make changes until September 28, the day after the final of three ODIs in India and eight in the run-up to the World Cup.
Over the previous 18 months, Labuschagne has paid the price for failing to build on a promising start to his ODI career. He has averaged 24.93 at a strike rate of 74.94 from 17 appearances since March 2022, after averaging 39.41 at a strike rate of 91.13 in his first 13 games, which included a first century against South Africa in March 2020.
“It is form-based,” selectors chair George Bailey said of Labuschagne’s omission. “We know Marnus is good enough to hold down a spot in the one-day team at his best; we just haven’t seen him do it consistently in the role that we’d like him to do.” There is certainly potential for others to receive more game time as the World Cup approaches.
“We’ve made it very clear to Marnus that he’ll be playing in some Australia A games around the same time, so he can focus on some white-ball cricket.” Clearly, the side we’re taking to South Africa is the frontrunner for [the World Cup], but given Marnus age and skill set, I have no doubt he’ll play a role in one-day cricket in the future. We know that at his best, he can play a significant role in one-day cricket.”
Australia A will face New Zealand A in three one-dayers in Mackay and Brisbane from September 10 to 15, with the squad to be announced this week. Soon after, the domestic Marsh Cup begins, giving Labuschagne more chances to play one-day cricket for Queensland.
If, as expected, he misses the World Cup, he will be eligible to play in a complete slate of Sheffield Shield matches in October and November before the home Test season begins on December 14 against Pakistan in Perth.
Labuschagne’s Ashes series was a letdown.
Labuschagne had a disappointing Ashes series, scoring 328 runs at 32.79, although he did have a fantastic match at Old Trafford, scoring a second-innings century.
Australia’s World Cup players will have very little first-class cricket before the Test season, and it is improbable that any of them will play in the five-match T20I series against India that will follow the competition.
Cameron Green, who was dropped for the final Ashes Test at The Oval, could be particularly tested by the schedule. He was rested for the T20I series in South Africa, but if he makes the final World Cup squad, he will have little time to establish red-ball form and rhythm to push his claims for a recall.
The final round of Sheffield Shield matches before the Test series against Pakistan, as well as the BBL window, begins on November 28. The World Cup final will be held on November 19, and the round-robin matches will conclude on November 12.
“A really important thing to remember with Cam is that he’s doing his learning at the coalface in international cricket,” Bailey added. “Even in Test cricket, he’ll play a huge role and be a really, really important member of that side, and he’ll be a really important member of our white-ball teams in the near future.” He’s certainly one where it’s worth giving him a little extra time off to ensure he’s ready to go for the one-day series.”
David Warner, who is seeking to end his Test career at the SCG in early January, would also be limited to one Sheffield Shield game for New South Wales, implying that selectors will have to make a decision on his spot based on his Ashes performances, where he averaged 28.50. The opening half of the Shield season will be crucial for those looking to replace Warner at the top of the order.
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