Marnus Labuschagne: Glamorgan sign Australia batsman to two-year deal
Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne has signed a new two-year contract with Glamorgan after playing a starring role in the Ashes.
Labuschagne scored 1,114 Championship runs in 10 matches before winning back his Test place against England.
"I'm absolutely rapt to re-sign and come back to Cardiff for another two years," said the 25-year-old.
"I love the city and loved playing for the club. The boys were incredible and I felt part of something special."
Labuschagne told BBC Sport Wales his decision to return followed the club's reappointment of Matthew Maynard as head coach.
"There was a bit of interest (from other counties) but there wasn't really much to consider, I loved my time with Glamorgan, I loved the coach and the system, and I really enjoyed working with the guys there.
"Matt Maynard staying on for another three years is great, I loved working with him and I learned a lot from him as coach, so it's exciting for me to sign up for another two years."
The new Viv
Maynard was delighted with the news and compared the South Africa-born player to his former Glamorgan team-mate and West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards.
"It's brilliant, he had a huge amount of skill with the bat, with his leg-spin and in the field, as well as his character," said Maynard.
"He reminded me very much of Viv Richards in terms of his drive, his passion and being a real leader on the field.
"You can learn so much from a player like Marnus, he's a proper cricket badger who wants to work on his game all the time and better himself."
Labuschagne scored 353 runs in seven completed innings for Australia in the 2019 Test series against England, after being drafted in as Test cricket's first concussion substitute for Steve Smith.
"I'd played a few Tests before but the Ashes was a big difference, to play a role in such a big series is amazing. Everything I learned and took from Glamorgan, I was able to put into action in that series," he said.
"It's not something you want to see, but coming in as a concussion sub was nice because I didn't have much time to think about, I was straight in there and that was probably to my benefit.
"It's exciting with Steve playing for the Welsh Fire (in the Hundred) and I'll be there for Glamorgan so it'll be nice to have him around in Cardiff, and I really enjoyed the time we batted together."
Battle for signature
Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace is delighted to have held on to Labuschagne, as his increased profile brought competition for his signature.
"It's a huge coup, when we brought him in he was largely unknown, but we were aware of how good he was and his star rose through the season," Wallace told BBC Sport Wales.
"There were quite a few big clubs after him, but he was keen to re-sign. One of the reasons we brought him in was his reputation as a great team man who would add to the dressing-room environment and he was fantastic off the field as well as brilliant on the field."
Glamorgan slipped out of the Championship promotion places after Labuschagne's departure, so how does he see their chances next summer?
"It's about starting the season like we did last year, putting performances on the board and being consistent. To say 'yes we're going to be promoted', we need to make we're playing good cricket consistently and having everyone contribute- if we do those things then absolutely I think we can get promoted."
Labuschagne is not likely to have extensive Test commitments for Australia during the 2020 UK domestic season with only two Tests scheduled against Bangladesh, although Australian players may have domestic state commitments in September.
He was not picked in the draft for The Hundred competition, so Glamorgan hope he will be available for the One-Day Cup as well as the County Championship and T20 Blast.