Australia’s newest Test hero will push Steve Smith down a position in the one-day batting order if he gets his way.
Marnus Labuschagne, included for the first time in an Australian white-ball squad for the coming three-match series against India, says he wants to fill the vital No.3 position should an opportunity present itself.
“I bat at three for Queensland so (I’d like to bat) three or four,” Labuschagne said.
“Batting in the middle order for Queensland probably means that’s why I’m here and what I’ve been selected for.”
Should Labuschagne get his wish, he’ll oust Smith from the position he has occupied 56 times – third only to Ricky Ponting (339) and Dean Jones (131) – and scored seven of his eight one-day centuries from.
Labuschagne performed impressively at first drop for the Bulls in last year’s Marsh One-Day Cup, posting 364 runs at an average of 60.66 and strike rate of 100.55.
But the incumbent Test No.3 knows that Smith will likely have the final say on whether he slides down a spot in the order.
“I’m not sure where Steve’s going to bat, I think that’ll have a pretty big influence if I play, where I will play,” he said.8463=.,
Labuschagne has played just once against India – last year’s New Years Test in Sydney – but knows the strength they have in the 50-over format.
“They’re the toughest opponent in the world at the moment in any format, so to be able to play them on their home grounds will be a real challenge and it’s exciting,” he said.
“As a player you want to play against the best and perform against the best and there’s no better place to do it in India against India.”
The first game of the series will be held in Mumbai on January 14.
Australia Qantas ODI Tour of India 2020
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.
First ODI: January 14, Mumbai (D/N)
Second ODI: January 17, Rajkot (D/N)
Third ODI: January 19, Bengaluru (D/N)