Top Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne on Monday said he and his team would be “pretty devastated” if India don’t make the trip Down Under for a Test and limited-overs series later this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
India’s tour of Australia will begin with a T20 tri-series in October and is scheduled to end with a four-match Test series in December. The speculation on the tour is because of the travel restrictions currently in place and the uncertainty surrounding how long it would take to control the pandemic.
Replying to a query on the tour in an online press conference, Labuschagne said, “Well it would mean that we are not playing cricket which is pretty devastating for myself, the rest of the team and for the country.”
In between, there is the T20 World Cup, scheduled for an October 18 start, but the mega event’s future is also shrouded in uncertainty due to the global crisis.
Australia has reported significant drop in positive cases with parts of the country relaxing lockdown rules. Just over 6,800 people have tested positive for the virus with less than 100 deaths in the country so far. Labuschagne lauded Australia’s healthcare system and its response to the crisis so far.
“Australia has done very well with the quarantine and isolation, so we’ve been able to get our number down relatively quickly. With a limited amount of deaths and our healthcare system has been so good during this time,” he said.
Labuschagne, currently placed at no.3 in ICC Test rankings after a brilliant year, hoped that Australia’s control over the pandemic would be enough to ensure that India tour without any hassles.
“Hopefully because of all that good work we can actually get India over here in 3-4 months or 4-5 months,” he said.
“Everything is changing so quickly so it’s really hard to put my finger on how everything’s going to pan out. Hopefully it does pan out well but if it doesn’t it will be very disappointing.”
In the meantime, the 25-year-old, who has enjoyed a breakout year in Tests and ODIs, is working on sharpening his skills during this forced break.
“The way things have unfolded has been awesome. For me it’s been about, one, taking it all in and being really happy and proud of that,” Labuschagne said reflecting on the past year.
“But also then looking at, ‘Righto, how I can get better?’, and looking at different parts of your game on and off the field that you can work on to make sure you’re continually getting better,” he added.
“For me it’s just about improving and make sure, once this isolation is done, I’m ready and prepared to take it on and try and go another level up.”
Labuschagne feels he needs to work on batting longer in ODIs.
“There’s heaps to improve on, that’s for sure. Personally in one-day cricket an area I want to continue to get better at is that later stages in the innings,” he said.
The fast-rising cricketer said he would also be aiming to become a better bowler.
“There’s many others, like my bowling, if I can continue to improve there and bowl a few more overs in the shorter format, that’s going to help me as well,” he said.
“That’s the beauty of the game � you’re never satisfied with where you are. You can be happy with where you are but you want to be better, you want to continue to drive yourself to get the absolute best out of yourself that you can.”
Australia’s ODI series against New Zealand was called off after the first match. All domestic and international cricket has also been either called off or postponed.
“This time is quite unique and has never happened before. It’s a good opportunity to make sure you’re learning from the situation and reviewing your game and understanding what you can continue to do to get better as a player.”