That Marnus Labuschagne is the unofficial protege to Steve Smith is a well-established fact, but the Australia run-machine seems to be doing all he can to mimic his mentor in more ways than one.
Smith’s quirky style of leaving deliveries outside off has acquired cult status in recent times, but Labuschagne, in Australia’s first Test of this summer, proved that he is not far behind either.
On day two of the Australia-India Adelaide Test, Labuschagne walked to the middle with the score reading 16-1 and Smith at the other end. Greeted first up with a harmless Jasprit Bumrah delivery outside the off stump, Labuschagne presented an extravagant leave, shifting across, shouldering his arms, and shouting: “No run!” It was a classic Smith leave.
It wasn’t a one-off; Labuschagne continued to put his eccentric style on display, almost eerily matching Smith in the way he excitedly moved his bat about. He managed to do that even while defending deliveries, prodding the ball back on the pitch, and waving his bat to say “No run” to the non-striker.
He carried on in similar fashion throughout his 119-ball 47, the top score among Australia’s top six. Allan Border, on commentary for Fox Cricket, called it odd behaviour”. As expected, Twitter was just as amused.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 18, 2020
Not sure what this guy Marnus Labuschagne is trying to do.. someone tell him not to be Steve Smith, those actions after playing each deliveries are registered trademark of Smith @ICC @cricketcomau #AUSvIND
— Dhaval Patel (@dhlrockstar) December 18, 2020
Labuschagne looking to out crazy Smith in the crazy leave stakes
— MOD (@Modman_23) December 18, 2020
FYI, Labuschagne has an exaggerated leave
Not sure if you’ve heard or noticed #AUSvIND
— weCricket (@wecricket_) December 18, 2020
"It's not an expression session in gymnastics".
National treasure Kerry O'Keefe on Labuschagne's 'leave' technique.#AUSvIND
— Swanny (@SwanMort) December 18, 2020
Shrieking “no run” as you aggressively leave the ball way outside off is pure boss mode. Labuschagne! #AUSvIND
— Patrick White (@PTWNorth) December 18, 2020
Labuschagne's fly swatting leave is a recipe for inside edge bowled😀
— Rajan Venkateswaran (സ്വാമി) (@swamy64) December 18, 2020