Australian Test skipper Tim Paine lavished praise on Marnus Labuschagne and lauded the Queenslander for being a natural leader on and off the field. Paine labelled Labuschagne a ‘great reader of the game’ and predicted the right-hander to make the step up within the next 18 months.
Marnus Labuschagne, since post his County stint with Glamorgan in 2019, has been Australia’s most important player in the longest format, but the Queenslander has seldom been touted by legends as a potential captaincy candidate. Labuschagne, on the field, is an eccentric character, and many, including his Queensland skipper Usman Khawaja, in the past, have opined that the 26-year-old might not be the most ideal candidate to skipper a side. This view has been reflected in Cricket Australia’s decisions, too, as Labuschagne, despite arguably being Australia’s best batsman, has always been overlooked for vice-captaincy.
But contrary to popular opinion, Aussie Test skipper Tim Paine believes that Labuschagne will make a great captain. Paine expressed his admiration for Labuschagne’s tactical nous, and claimed that he expects the 26-year-old to make the step-up within the next couple of years.
"I think he'd be a good (leader). Marnus is a great thinker of the game. He's a good team man, he's got so much enthusiasm for his team and the game,” Paine said, reported cricket.com.au.
"With Marnus it's about him evolving into leading more, and being more of a leader. He's come into our group and been a really infectious, energetic guy which has been fantastic for our team, but I think in terms of our cricket team improving and Marnus evolving, I think in the next couple of years we'll definitely see him take the step up.”
Paine reckoned that Labuschagne possesses natural leadership ability and insisted that, if this ability is harnessed, the Queenslander will become an excellent leader.
"He's got leadership in him, there's no doubt about that – the way he goes about it, the way he treats people, the way he works on his game … with some time (he) will become an excellent leader for this squad.
"He's got some real natural leadership ability and if that's harnessed and helped, I think he'll be a great captain."
Labuschagne is currently in England representing Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast, and is, as things stand, the second highest run-getter in the competition. The right-hander has posted fifties in each of his two games in the Blast thus far, including an unbeaten 93 against Gloucestershire.