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‘It puts pressure back on the bowler’ – Marnus Labuschagne explains his extravagant leaving style

Labuschagne leaving the ball
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

After a sensational 192 in the 2021 Sheffield Shield final for Queensland, Marnus Labuschagne discussed his technique and unique leaving style with former Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann.

While no teammate of his crossed fifty, Labuschagne fell eight runs short of a double century against an attack featuring Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Trent Copeland and Sean Abbott among others. The Australian middle-order batsman was so in his element, willing to dig himself in and wear down the bowlers that at one point Lyon was heard muttering angrily after the batsman padded one away: “He’s got a bat, one of the best batters in the world!”

Labuschagne had altered his grip during the season, and in a candid chat with Lehmann, he delved into his awkward-looking technique.

“It’s something that I have been working on coming out of the Test summer after the series against India,” Labuschagne said, explaining the reason behind the change in his grip.” I felt like I was getting beaten on the inside [edge] a little bit too much and getting caught by those leg-side fielders. I actually changed my grip from [being] a little bit too underneath. I felt like when I was hitting my straight drives I was slipping off the bat a little bit. I wasn’t able to hit those straight drives like I was hitting them this game.”

On being pressed by Lehmann about his general technique of walking across the stumps and leaving extravagantly, Labuschagne explained that it was his way of “putting pressure back on the bowlers” and taking away the “mundane” nature of a leave.

“With those type of guys [Hazlewood], I know that they’re firstly going to attack me straight. Obviously the field probably gives you that clue. So, if they have two slips and they have that man across, I try and get my head a little bit straighter down the wicket, [whereas] if they are bowling [in the] channel I probably go a bit further across and get my head a little bit outside of off stump.

“I think for me, it’s just about getting into the contest. So, me leaving the ball sort of extravagantly, or a little bit over-exaggerating… it’s just me sort of showing energy, because a leave can sometimes be quite a mundane type of shot but to bring energy, maybe it puts pressure back on the bowlers because there’s a bit more intensity with the leave, creates a bit more atmosphere when you bat.”

Watch the entire conversation here:

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