Sport Marnus Labuschagne admits being overlooked for IPL was ‘blessing in disguise’
Aussie star abandons IPL amid 'grim' emergency
One Australian has left the IPL, and several others could follow as India faces a rapidly escalating disaster.India recorded 349,691 new infections yesterday, its sixth consecutive day of rising case numbers, with suggestions the real figures are much higher.
Marnus Labuschagne has expressed concern for Australia team-mates caught up in India’s coronavirus crisis and admits being overlooked at the Indian Premier League auction was a “blessing in disguise”.
Labuschagne has linked up with Glamorgan again after a 2019 spell at the Welsh county propelled him into the Test arena and he has gone on to be one of world’s best batsmen.
But the 26-year-old’s thoughts have also been on the escalating human disaster in India.
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Zampa pulls out of IPL to prioritise mental health
Australia spinner Adam Zampa has cut his Indian Premier League (IPL) season short to prioritise his mental health. Zampa is one of three Australian cricketers to pull out of the lucrative T20 tournament which has continued despite the steepening coronavirus crisis in the south Asian nation.The 29-year-old, who plays for IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), said a confluence of factors had led to his withdrawal but he ultimately decided the extra pay was not worth the risk for his wellbeing.
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On Tuesday, India surpassed 200,000 Covid deaths amid a frightening surge and hospitals have been overwhelmed at a time when the IPL – which also features a host of England players – continues to be played.
Some 30 Australian players, coaches and commentators are currently involved in the IPL. Three players – Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson – opted to fly home before the federal government paused direct flights to Australia from India until May 15.
“You obviously feel for them,” Labuschagne said. “But I haven’t spoken to too many guys that are feeling unsafe.
“It’s more about getting back into Australia and what does that look like.
“I just hope that they stay safe and get back to Australia safely whenever they do.”
India's death toll surging past 200,000 WON'T stop the IPL, say chiefs
There have been widespread calls for cricket to be cancelled as the pandemic takes a grip of India, but a senior board official has insisted that it is business as usual for the IPL. At least 300,000 people have tested positive for the virus every day over the last week, and organisers have been begging the biggest IPL stars not to quit the league as fears continue to rise.The Board of Control for Cricket in India has also been accused of being 'tone-deaf' in its stance, but a senior official has insisted that the sport is providing much-needed relief during the country's toughest times.
Labuschagne had been keen to make his IPL debut and push his case for Australia selection ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.
But he went unsold in the IPL auction and instead his runs helped Queensland to Sheffield Shield glory.
“It certainly looks like it was a blessing in disguise,” Labuschagne said of missing out on the IPL.
“I would love to have played in the IPL, it’s a great tournament. But there’s always two sides to the coin.
“If I was in the IPL I would have been away and to win a Shield is something that doesn’t come around often.
“Secondly, you look at the conditions in India now and it’s not looking great.
“Being in Wales, things are opening up and that’s a real positive. People are getting some freedom after the last 12 to 18 months.”
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Legend's bubble plea amid India COVID crisis
Indian coach Ravi Shastri has called for the ICC to act as the COVID-19 situation continues to deteriorate in that country.Indian coach Ravi Shastri remains positive his country can host the T20 World Cup later this year, despite the skyrocketing COVID-19 numbers in recent weeks, but he's warned the ICC will need to act soon to avoid 'bubble-fatigue.
Welcome back, Marnus, and welcome to Wales, Michael! ????????????????????????????
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Labuschagne’s rise is a remarkable story. He made his Test debut against Pakistan in October 2018, but a two-ball duck in his first innings and 13 runs in his second did not hint at the big scores to follow.
A productive spell at Glamorgan for the first part of the 2019 county season, where he scored 1,114 runs in 10 matches, won him a place in Australia’s Ashes squad that summer.
Opportunity knocked when Steve Smith was felled by Jofra Archer’s bouncer at Lord’s and Labuschagne became his concussion substitute – the first time in Test history the protocol had been used.
Less than two years on and Labuschagne is third in the Test batting rankings behind Smith and Kane Williamson, who occupies the number one spot.
He goes straight into Glamorgan’s squad to face Kent in the LV= Insurance County Championship on Thursday.
Labuschagne’s 1,885 runs in 18 Tests, which have brought five hundreds and a best of 215, have come at an average of 60.80 – currently the sixth highest in the history of Test cricket.
Postponement of IPL leaves Australian players stranded in India
The sensational development came after a member of David Warner's team, Sunrisers Hyderabad, became the latest player to test positive to coronavirus.Indian cricket authorities made the sensational decision after an emergency meeting called to deal with the growing crisis within the tournament's supposed biosecure bubble.
It has also whetted his appetite for this winter’s Ashes battle, one he expects to take place in front of crowds despite the threat of Covid-19.
“I can’t see any reason why there won’t be any fans in Australia at this stage,” Labuschagne said.
“I think the Covid cases are almost down to zero or not many community spread cases at least.
“Considering we had crowds at almost every game this summer it would seem there will be crowds and that’s exciting from any cricketer’s perspective.
“Playing in front of crowds definitely changes the dynamic, but even without them you’d still have to turn up as a player and give it your all.
“You still have to try and win the Ashes for your country.
“There might not be the 30,000 people watching in the ground, but there are still millions of people watching on TV and they want to see a great spectacle and a good contest.”Share on TwitterTweet
Stuck Warner's heartbreaking message from daughter .
Pat Cummins says Aussie IPL cricketers were shocked and anxious when they heard of the government travel ban.The government decision was made with COVID-19 cases exploding across India, yet banning Australians from coming home was an unprecedented and controversial move.