Mark Waugh lifts lid on Marnus Labuschagne 'department store' act amid Test struggles

The cricket great says Marnus Labuschagne was shadow batting in a retailer ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

Australian cricket great Mark Waugh believes Marnus Labuschagne's "intensity" is contributing to his ongoing form slump. The Aussie batsman is going through a worryingly lean period with the bat, scoring just a single century in his last 37 Test innings, and has only passed 50 on six occasions during that time.

His struggles with the bat saw him record his lowest-ever combined Test score, 3, in Australia's 172-run victory over New Zealand in the first Test at Wellington's Basin Reserve. In his last six innings, Labuschagne has made scores of 10, one not out, three, five, one and two, and his career average has dropped from 60.82 to under 50 in just 12 months.

Pictured left Mark Waugh and right Marnus Labuschagne
Mark Waugh believes Marnus Labuschagne's 'intensity' to break his form slump is actually doing the opposite. Image: Getty

But despite his recent woes, Waugh doesn't believe his place in the side is under threat, declaring selectors "will show faith" in him. The Australian sporting legend believes that Labuschagne is doing too much in an attempt to return to form, even claiming a friend of his saw him shadow batting in a department store before the Boxing Day Test.

"He was in there with his tracksuit on, he had a backpack on and he had his bat and he was shadow batting in the department store," Waugh said on Fox Sports' The Back Page. "The worrying sign for me about Marnus is he’s so intense. He’s 24 hours a day — eats, sleeps and drinks cricket.

"And I wonder when you get in a bit of a rut, is that going to suffocate you? So he needs to break free of that."

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 01: Marnus Labuschagne of Australia leaves the field after being dismissed during day two of the First Test in the series between New Zealand and Australia at Basin Reserve on March 01, 2024 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Marnus Labuschagne is going through a worryingly lean period with the bat, scoring just a single century in his last 37 Test innings, and has only passed 50 on six occasions during that time. (Hagen Hopkins via Getty Images)

Pat Cummins back Marnus Labuschagne to turn things around

Pat Cummins says Labuschagne's place in Australia's Test side is safe and believes the 29-year-old will return to form sooner rather than later, declaring he is one of the top 6 batters in the country. Speaking ahead of Australia's second Test in Christchurch, the Aussie skipper conceded that everyone goes through dips in form but said the beauty of the current side is that when someone is not firing, others will stand up and deliver.

"Absolutely not," he said when asked if Labuschagne could be dropped. "He’d be the first to admit he’d like to score some more runs, and it’s not through lack of trying in the nets. Particularly in the second innings, it was just one of those ones down leg.

"We're very clear that these six guys are the best six batters in Australia. Although at times it might not have clicked all at once, the story of our team has been someone’s been able to stand up when they need to. Everyone’s going well."


Steve Smith is another Aussie batsman whose place in the Test side has come into question after failing to fire since moving to the top of the order to replace the retired David Warner. Smith scored 31 off 71 in the first innings against the Kiwis, before being dismissed for a duck in the second.

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