Australian batting sensation Marnus Labuschagne has expressed his excitement about the prospect of facing star Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The Pat Cummins-led side will tour India for a four-match Test series beginning on February 9. The opening Test is scheduled to take place at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.
Labuschagne, who made his ODI debut in India in early 2020, will play his first red-ball series here and has revealed how he has been shaping his batting strategies to combat the spin of Ashwin.
Notably, the contest between the two players was the major talking point during the epic 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar series, which India famously won at the Gabba. Ashwin claimed Labuschagne’s wicket twice, though the Queenslander still averaged 53.25 with the bat.
Labuschagne mentioned that he has been preparing to face India’s spin maestro and termed the upcoming battle against Ashwin a ‘game of chess’.
“Since then [the last series], I’ve already started thinking. I’ve changed some of my game because of what I’ve heard about Ashwin and how he bowled to me. I’ve adapted my game to try and foil a few of his ideas and ways he goes about it, so it’s going to be a lovely game of chess and I can’t wait for it,” said Labuschagne as quoted by cricket.com.au.
The South African-born Australian cricketer doesn’t have enough experience playing on the subcontinent. Labuschagne has so far played five matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where he tasted mixed success. The high point, however, was his century in the second Test against the Islanders in Galle.
“You start processing everything in your mind, you go through every scenario of what bowler you are going to come across. I’ve already thought about my plans, so now it’s just about executing…piece the puzzle together and make sure the puzzle is ready when it’s game time. That’s the key, and that’s how all preparation happens,” added Labuschagne.