Labuschagne excited to face country of his birth

Ashes 2019 - Fifth Test - England v Australia
Ashes 2019 - Fifth Test - England v Australia

PAARL, South Africa (Reuters) - Australia's Marnus Labuschagne is excited at the prospect of going up against the land of his birth when their One Day International 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.

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"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.”

(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis)

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