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Marnus Labuschagne, Wisden world Test XI, team, opening batter, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins


Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne has been recognised as one of the best in the world, but in a rather bizarre way.

The 27-year-old was named as opening batter in Wisden’s current World Test XI. Wisden is considered the bible of cricket globally.

Labuschagne is ranked fourth in the ICC’s current Test batting rankings, behind Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and his teammate Steve Smith.

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The only problem is the quirky right-hander has never opened the batting in a Test match. Labuschagne has played the majority of his 31 innings for Australia at No.3, and has also batted at the five positions lower than that in the order, but never opened.

Some pundits also questioned the inclusion of three Australian players – Labuschagne, Smith, and Pat Cummins – when the Aussies have so far only played two Test matches this year. They haven’t played a Test since last summer’s series against India, which they lost.

Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne and New Zealand’s Tom Latham both open the batting for their countries, and have played more Test cricket than Labuschagne this year.

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“There were many selection dilemmas facing the Wisden panel,” Wisden says on its website.

“Most notably how to fit Labuschagne, Root, Smith and Williamson into one side.”

The four batters are the highest ranked Test players currently, despite the difference in the amount of cricket they’ve played in the last 12 months.

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Wisden editor Taha Hashim also defended the decision to have Labuschagne open the batting.

“I went for Marnus just because I was trying to fit in all those middle-order guys and he is Australia’s No.3, averages 70 (71.42) at three… and I kind of had to get him in somewhere and that’s the only place I could find,” Hashim said.

Wisden’s Test XI: Rohit Sharma, Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Mohammad Rizwan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, James Anderson, Jasprit Bumrah

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