Marnus Labuschagne: Australia batsman signs for extra year with Glamorgan

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Glamorgan boss Mark Wallace hails 'lover of cricket' Marnus Labuschagne

Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne has signed for an extra year with Glamorgan, until the end of the 2022 season.

Even if domestic cricket resumes, Labuschagne, 25, will not play in the UK in 2020 because of international commitments and travel restrictions.

He scored 1,114 Championship runs in just 10 matches for Glamorgan in 2019.

After starring in the Ashes series, he beat Steve Smith to be named Australia men's Test Player of the Year.

Labuschagne has an average of 63 across 14 Test matches and an average of 50 in seven one-day internationals.

"It's great news and shows that Marnus wants to spend a period of time here, so we're looking forward to having him whenever cricket gets back to normal," said Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace.

"Marnus really enjoyed his time at Glamorgan and saw the benefits that he got out of it as a cricketer, he loved his time in Wales so both he and Glamorgan want it to be a long-term association."

Long-term hopes

Glamorgan will now hope the international schedule allows him a big enough window to repeat his successful first spell in Wales, which came after he was called up as a deputy for fellow countryman Shaun Marsh.

"It's an old-fashioned set-up to keep an overseas player (with a UK county) for a long period of time," Wallace told BBC Sport Wales.

"Marnus performed really well for us, got on really well with the coaching staff. He enjoyed playing with the guys and could see the process of where the club's trying to go.

"We won't have him every game for those two years, but the Australians don't tend to play a lot in the (British) summer unless it's an Ashes series, and we'll have to navigate that and make sure we get adequate replacements in when he's not here."

Uncertainty over Ingram

Wallace is increasingly optimistic that the counties will play a T20 Blast competition starting in September or late August, preceded by a few weeks of either four-day or 50-overs cricket depending on the logistics of hotels for away teams as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Glamorgan are unsure whether batsman Colin Ingram, currently at his rural home in South Africa, will be able to join them.

"It's up in the air because at the moment you can't fly out of South Africa (to the UK), you have to stay in quarantine, so we're in contact with Colin about taking some part in the season but that's a question of watch this space," Wallace said.

"I don't think we'll have any (official) overseas players for this season in line with most counties, but that will give a chance to some of the other guys who've been kicking their heels on furlough."

Players must 'earn' deals

With nearly half of a large squad out of contract at the end of a truncated season, Wallace is still hopeful of making contract decisions for cricketing rather than financial reasons.

"If we do start playing in August that also means we'll be back training a month or so before that, so it gives a fair window of time for people to go out and perform to earn those deals," Wallace said.

"We'll make as many of the decisions we can for purely cricketing reasons, so if we decide to take a smaller squad into next season it'll be because that's the amount of players we feel we need to move the club forward."

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