November 30, 2023

Left out initially, Marnus Labuschagne played a crucial role in Australia’s record sixth World Cup title and the middle-order batter emphasised that he never lost hope and belief in “miracles”. The 29-year-old was initially sidelined from Australia’s 18-member provisional World Cup squad but was included at the last moment, replacing Ashton Agar due to a calf injury. “It’s hard for me not to believe in miracles, and that there’s someone above putting the pieces together,” Labuschagne said after his unbeaten 58 here on Sunday.

Labuschagne has scored 362 runs including three fifties from 10 innings at an average of 40.22. In the final, he stood in a match-winning 192-run partnership with Travis Head that sealed their six-wicket win over India.

But by his own admission, Labuschagne was not sure about his place in the playing eleven for the final.

“Last night, 10 o’clock, the team hadn’t been announced yet. Didn’t know (if I was playing), I was sitting on my bed. And I was actually thinking: How can I add value then if I’m not playing? Maybe fielding?” he told

“Then at quarter past 10, the team got sent out and it just said ‘same team’. So that was a bit of a relief.” After the initial snub, a wrist injury to Steve Smith saw Labuschagne being added as a late inclusion for a five-match ODI series in South Africa, but was ignored for the first game in Bloemfontein.

“I think I was unofficially dropped five times, but played every game,” said Labuschagne, who has now played in 25 consecutive ODIs for Australia over the past 12 months.

“I wasn’t in the squad in South Africa. Someone got concussed, I got an opportunity, got some runs, pushed my case, got in the squad, played 19 games since the first South Africa (ODI) in a row.

“So it’s hard for me not to think, you know, as a man of faith, that there’s not someone else pulling the strings. I’m very thankful for the coaches and selectors for sticking by me… Luckily I got us over the line,” he added.

Labuschagne was full of praise for his partner Head, who made 137 off 120 balls.

“It’s almost the perfect pair out there for that sort of scenario. Me absorbing the pressure at one end, Heady putting pressure back on them at the other,” said Labuschagne.

“We played a beautiful hand, because I’m playing such a low-risk game, not letting them in, Heady’s taking the game on… They’re kind of getting punched from both ends.

“We just kept saying to each other, ‘Just keep playing your way’. He said (when victory was in sight) ‘I’m gonna finish it this over’. I really wish he was out there for the finish… It was such a special innings.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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