InMobi

Labuschagne to launch into England return for red-ball boost

There will be a strong Australian presence in county cricket this weekend with Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser and Beau Webster in line for season debuts

Marnus Labuschagne is set to make his return for Glamorgan this weekend and hopes this winter's stint with the county side will help propel him back up the Test batting rankings.

Labuschagne returns for his fifth campaign with the Welsh county, named in the 13-player squad to face Middlesex from Friday.

Having missed the first five matches of the county season, the Test No.3 touched down in the UK after enjoying a couple of weeks of rest at home in Brisbane, even joining the Australian T20 squad for a net session at Allan Border Field last week.

His record in the County Championship is exceptional, with an average of 55.52 from 26 matches, which includes eight hundreds.

And for Labuschagne, who has slipped to 12th spot on the ICC's Test batter rankings, is determined to use this campaign to find some much needed red-ball form, albeit with Australia's next Test match not until the summer's Border-Gavaskar Trophy opener in November.

"I'm super motivated, as I always have been, I want to be the best, I've said that before," Labuschagne told BCC Sport Wales.

"I want to be the best batter in the world. At the moment, in the last year, I just haven't been at my best and for me it's just finding that rhythm and being able to use Glamorgan to find that rhythm and score runs… and make sure the team is winning games and that's really my objective.

"I love the club and I want to do something great with the club and see that journey progress in to Division One.

"We've been so close for a few years but hopefully this year can be the year we can do it."

Labuschagne's former teammate at Glamorgan Michael Neser has found a new home for the winter with Hampshire signing the Queensland allrounder.

Originally signed up only for the T20 Blast, Neser has been included in the Hawks' 14-player squad to face Nottinghamshire in the County Championship this weekend.

Both of Hampshire's other overseas players, pace bowlers Kyle Abbott and Mohammad Abbas, are also in that squad, and as only two may play at a time, Neser is no guarantee to get a run.

However, the 33-year-old has shown he can dominate the county scene, leaving behind a batting average of 43.26 (with two hundreds) and a bowling average of 23.00 (two five-wicket hauls) from his time at Glamorgan.

Last season's Marsh Sheffield Shield player of the season Beau Webster is line to make his debut in English first-class cricket, named alongside Cameron Bancroft in Gloucestershire's squad to take on Leicestershire.

Webster, like Neser, was signed up for the T20 Blast (which begins on May 30), but given he is in the country, he is eligible for selection in the other formats.

The Tasmania allrounder dominated the 2023-24 Shield, scoring 938 runs, taking 30 wickets and holding 24 catches, and he has potentially two county fixtures before the T20 break to continue to push his claims for higher honours.

Nathan Lyon returns to Lancashire's squad and is set to square off against Ben Stokes as the England captain makes his return for Durham.

Lyon was rested for Lancashire's previous fixture against Nottinghamshire, and the Red Roses will be desperate to get him back as they sit dead last in Division One.

Lyon's season to date has been quite impressive considering the pitches have been largely batter friendly or completely soaked, taking 12 wickets at an average of 26.91.

Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris (both Leicestershire), Matthew Renshaw (Somerset), Peter Siddle (Durham) and Sean Abbott (Surrey) have all been named for their respective sides.

Wes Agar has been rested for Kent, with his team management citing "bowler workload".

Chris Tremain's stint with Northamptonshire has come to an end, having signed a contract for the first four matches only.

Australians in the 2024 County Championship

Durham: Ben Dwarshuis, Ashton Turner (both T20s only)

Essex: Daniel Sams (T20s only)

Glamorgan: Marnus Labuschagne

Gloucestershire: Cameron Bancroft, Beau Webster

Hampshire: Michael Neser, Ben McDermott (T20s only)

Kent: Wes Agar, Charlie Stobo, Xavier Bartlett (T20s only)

Lancashire: Nathan Lyon, Chris Green (T20s only)

Leicestershire: Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris

Northamptonshire: Chris Tremain (first four matches only)

Somerset: Matthew Renshaw

Surrey: Sean Abbott, Spencer Johnson (T20s only)

Sussex: Nathan McAndrew, Daniel Hughes

2024 Division One County Championship standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Drawn
D
No results
N/R
Deductions
Ded.
Batting Bonus
Bat
Bowling Bonus
Bowl
Total points
PTS
1 Surrey Surrey SRY 7 4 1 2 0 0 16 19 115
2 Essex Essex ESS 7 4 1 2 0 0 15 18 113
3 Somerset Somerset SOM 7 2 1 4 0 0 16 19 99
4 Hampshire Hampshire HAM 7 2 1 3 1 2 10 13 85
5 Durham Durham DUR 7 2 1 3 1 1 9 11 83
6 Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire NOT 7 1 2 4 0 0 11 20 79
7 Warwickshire Warwickshire WAR 7 0 2 5 0 0 19 18 77
8 Worcestershire Worcestershire WOR 7 0 2 5 0 0 13 17 70
9 Lancashire Lancashire LAN 7 1 3 3 0 0 8 16 64
10 Kent Kent KEN 7 1 3 3 0 0 7 14 61

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points

2024 Division Two County Championship standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Drawn
D
No results
N/R
Deductions
Ded.
Batting Bonus
Bat
Bowling Bonus
Bowl
Total points
PTS
1 Sussex Sussex SSX 7 3 1 3 0 2 20 19 109
2 Middlesex Middlesex MSX 7 2 0 5 0 0 14 15 101
3 Leicestershire Leicestershire LEI 7 0 0 7 0 0 21 15 92
4 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire GLO 7 1 1 4 1 0 20 14 90
5 Northamptonshire Northamptonshire NOR 7 0 1 6 0 0 18 17 83
6 Glamorgan Glamorgan GLA 7 1 1 5 0 0 12 14 82
7 Yorkshire Yorkshire YRK 7 0 2 5 0 0 16 21 77
8 Derbyshire Derbyshire DBY 7 0 1 5 1 1 12 11 70

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points