Australia batting mainstay Steven Smith has predicted that rising star Marnus Labuschagne can be a future influential player if he keeps a level head after his breakthrough season.
Smith advised the 22-year-old Labuschagne to stay grounded after his meteoric rise in international cricket, which saw him post 896 runs at an average of 112, hitting four centuries — two each against Pakistan and New Zealand — this season so far.
He is now third in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen behind India captain Virat Kohli and Smith.
“That’s is the real challenge for him now, having that amazing series, there’s going to be that expectation there now and it’s about managing that,” Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“The thing I like about Marnus is his willingness to learn and how quickly he picks things up, and if he continues to do that, he’s going to be a huge player for Australia for a long time.”
The experienced Smith has been able to prolong his success in the years since his breakout summer of 2014-15 and he asked rookie Labuschagne to do the same.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he’s got that belief in himself now that he can do it, now it’s about resetting the clock every time he goes out to play. He’s got a really good understanding of how he wants to play and that’s a huge thing for a young player.
“To have that understanding and be able to stick to something for a prolonged period of time and trust it’s going to work, he’s found that method now and I have no doubt he’s going to get better.”
Labuschagne is currently in India for the three-match ODI series, beginning in Mumbai on Tuesday.