By: Alec Camplin
Underlying the sharp rise of cricketer Marnus Labuschagne, the gritty, batting all-rounder is a lifelong faith in God.
In October Marnus made a surprise entry into the Test cricket scene, debuting against Pakistan. He’s since shown promise with the bat and ball though it’s his hard working demeanour that is setting him apart.
Coaches and peers have seen a great amount of character and potential in the 24 year old as the team looks to reshape its ethos stemming from the ball tampering saga last March and the resulting Cricket Australia Culture Review.
“His work ethic is as good as anyone’s.” says Australian coach Justin Langer. “He’s one of those guys who is like the heartbeat of the team … in terms of work ethic, desire, focus.”
“It does give me perspective on things. That cricket isn’t everything.”
After what’s been a whirlwind four months for the regular Gateway Baptist Church attendee he spoke with cricket.com.au about the role of his faith in his cricket and life.
“I’ve been a Christian my whole life,” he says. “I grew up going to church, and I made my own commitment to follow the Lord when I was 17, when I got baptised at my church, and it’s been a journey since then.
Unfortunately though, he was unable to retain his spot in the team for the first three Tests against India. Despite the promising start to his international career he notes the balance church and faith provides him when cricket doesn’t go as planned.
“It does give me perspective on things. That cricket isn’t everything. Although at times it does feel like it has become that…I know when I come back from wherever I have been, I’m coming into an environment where I’m loved. My faith has played a massive part these past few months.”
Labuschagne is very open about his faith, even displaying a small Isaiah 40:31 sticker on the back of his bat though he’ll admit it’s not something he has always found easy to share.
“…we’ve had some amazing conversations, about his faith, my faith, and how they sort of intertwine.’
“It’s definitely something where earlier, when I came into an ageing Bulls (Queensland State Team) squad and everyone knew I was Christian, that was a bit more challenging,” he says. “There were older players and it was a bit tougher. But people were willing to listen and try to understand me.”
Despite some preconceptions, his faith is very much now viewed by team mates as part of who he his is as a person. It has opened up a number of interactions with teammates keen to learn more about this side of him including Australia’s only practicing Muslim cricketer, Usman Khawaja.
“Usman and I have had numerous conversations about faith. Even from when I first came into the squad, we’ve had some amazing conversations, about his faith, my faith, and how they sort of intertwine.”
2019 is set to be an exciting year for the young cricketer. He’s re-earned his place in the side for the Sydney Test and with the Ashes coming up in August Ricky Ponting has already backed him to receive a plane ticket to England. Whatever happens though he will always have his faith in something much bigger than cricket.
Article supplied with thanks to 96five.