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Marnus Labuschagne

Kohli backs Labuschagne to be a ‘top player in the world for a while’

Ind v Aus, 3rd ODI, reaction

Marnus Labuschagne’s successful initiation into ODI cricket during the three-match series against India has earned him the glowing praise of world No.1 Virat Kohli.

Labuschagne, who has had a dream Test run since coming in for Steve Smith as cricket’s first concussion substitute during last year’s Lord’s Ashes Test, forced his way into Australia’s white-ball team, after a run of 1249 runs in nine Tests at an astounding average of 83.26.

"He's a quality player. We were talking outside... he's very sure of what he wants to do," Kohli said. "Again, body language, intent, he's there, he's running hard between the wickets, he wants the ball [in the field].

"I think he's got the right mindset to be a consistent player, to be a top player in the world for a while. He's shown that in Test cricket, he's shown that in one-day cricket, and I'm sure if he plays T20 cricket, he'll show the same clarity there as well."

While he didn’t get the chance to bat in Mumbai, where Australia steamrolled to a 10-wicket win while chasing 256, Labuschagne gave a gritty account of himself in Rajkot, where he briefly kept Australia in the hunt, in pursuit of a tall chase of 341, with a 47-ball 46. In Bengaluru, Labuschagne struck his maiden one-day fifty to lay a strong platform for Australia, although their innings later fizzled out.

In both games, Labuschagne stitched together strong partnerships with his idol Steve Smith, who, along with Kohli, is viewed as this generation’s greatest batsman. Kohli saw no reason why Labuschagne shouldn’t carve out a similar reputation for himself and become a top player in the world game for years to come.

I think he's [Labuschagne] got the right mindset to be a consistent player, to be a top player in the world for a while.

Virat Kohli

"He looks like a complete team man," Kohli said. "So, against guys like that, you need to have total clarity and not back off, because if a guy brings that kind of clarity, it can really put the bowlers under pressure if you're not up to the mark.

"It's about who loses patience first. If you give him a window, he can take the game away from you. He's always energetic. I really don't know where he gets that energy from. He's like a bunny running around."

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