Paarl: Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne is excited at the prospect of going up against the land of his birth when their ODI series against South Africa starts at Paarl on Saturday.
The 25-year-old was born in Klerksdorp, some 170km north-west of Johannesburg, and moved to Australia at the age of nine.
“I’ve never played over here so it’s going to be exciting,” he told a news conference ahead of the start of the three-match series.
“I have a lot of family coming to the second and third games in Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom, probably north of 20. It depends on how many tickets I can get! Grandparents, aunties, uncles, family friends, they’re all coming."
“It’s the first time they’ve seen me play cricket since I was a very small kid. They saw me loving cricket as a kid but only seen my career from a distance. It’s going to be really nice to share that with them."
“I played a little bit of cricket at primary school in Potchefstroom but the rest of my cricket has been in Australia,” said Labuschagne, whose English is delivered with a thick Australian accent.
He made an inauspicious start to his Test career in late 2018 but made the most of a late call-up in last year’s Ashes to cement a place in the Test side.
He wants to do the same now with the ODI team after his debut in India last month.
“I loved it, India was crazy. I love the pressure and the atmosphere over there, it was a great opportunity to play. Obviously that role at number four is a spot I want to continue to try and be successful in.”
Yet he admitted he might not be as sharp as he would have hoped to have been for the three ODIs in South Africa.
“It’s been tough the last couple of weeks because I actually haven’t played. It’s been weird because I’ve been so busy playing cricket and then I’ve had one innings in the last three weeks which is probably the least I’ve batted over the last two years.”
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Seventeen other members of the South Africa Emerging team left Bangladesh late Monday, before the country imposed a ban on international flights over a surge in new cases there.
Rizwan made an unbeaten 74 as Pakistan chased down a target of 189 with one ball to spare. Their previous highest T20 chase was 188 against Australia in Harare in 2018.
Follow live updates on the first Twenty20 International between South Africa and Pakistan at the Bullring in Johannesburg.