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Consistency key for Labuschagne’s ODI role

Marnus Labuschagne aspires to be a consistent middle-order batter and regular in Australia’s ODI side, and is hoping a familiar wicket in Townsville will help him get a head start.

Australia will play three ODIs against Zimbabwe and New Zealand in the next fortnight, with the first instalment on Sunday against the Africans.

Townsville’s Riverway Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Labuschagne.

He has never lost there after enjoying the spoils in a T20 contest and Shute Shield fixture against Tasmania in 2021.

But having played just 21 ODIs for Australia, Labuschagne says he’s eager to dig into the upcoming tri-series after experiencing gaps in his international ODI career.

“It’s been quite scattered, hasn’t it? I played sort of 13 and then probably didn’t play for a year-and-a-half and then played another seven or eight after that,” he said at the series launch.

“For me it’s about getting consistent in that role, making sure that I become that person at batting at four or five that can finish the game off if that needs to be.

“Or make sure I keep that run rate going on through the middle overs and score real quick and hopefully provide some some overs with the ball if needed.”

Labuchagne is part of a near full-strength Australia squad tasked with playing Zimbabwe in their first tour down under since the 2003-2004 summer.

Another tri-series against world No.1 ODI side New Zealand awaits further north as the summer of cricket begins this year in late winter.

He said under the direction of skipper Aaron Finch he expects a similar role in the middle order and will leave the structure and scheming to them.

“My role has typically been for the last sort of 21 ODIs batting at four or five and doing that work through the middle against the spin and then hopefully finishing the game off towards the back end,” he said.

“But any role that I play is fine. And like I said, we’ve got so many powerful, impactful players.

“I’m sure if the situation arises the batting order will just flip and chop and change for whatever the circumstance needs.”

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