Paine flags Labuschagne as potential captaincy successor
Tim Paine believes Marnus Labuschagne's infectious energy and enthusiasm holds the Queenslander in good stead for potential leadership roles in future years
14 June 2021, 03:46 PM AEST
Test skipper Tim Paine has endorsed burgeoning Australia superstar Marnus Labuschagne as a potential national captain.
Paine, in Brisbane attending a high performance coaching accreditation program at the National Cricket Centre, said Labuschagne's ongoing evolution from effervescent rookie to influential figure in the Australia squad was likely to move into a leadership role in coming seasons, as the world's number three ranked Test batsman grows as a player and person.
"I think he'd be a good (leader)," Paine said. "Marnus is a great thinker of the game. He's a good team man, he's got so much enthusiasm for his team and the game.
"With Marnus it's about him evolving into leading more, and being more of a leader. He's come into our group and been a really infectious, energetic guy which has been fantastic for our team, but I think in terms of our cricket team improving and Marnus evolving, I think in the next couple of years we'll definitely see him take the step up.
"He's got leadership in him, there's no doubt about that – the way he goes about it, the way he treats people, the way he works on his game … with some time (he) will become an excellent leader for this squad.
"He's got some real natural leadership ability and if that's harnessed and helped, I think he'll be a great captain."
Labuschagne's lack of captaincy experience at state level has at least in part been the product of a Queensland squad boasting a seasoned leader in 34-year-old Usman Khawaja, who has been an increasingly regular feature in the Bulls squad given his near two-year absence from the international scene.
But that didn't stop Australia's two-time World Cup winning skipper Ricky Ponting from identifying the batsman as a potential leader in January 2020.
"(He) will come into the conversation in 12-18 months' time, once he's properly established himself in the team," Ponting predicted.
"He seems like the right sort of guy to maybe be a captain down the track at some point."
Right now, the 26-year-old appears more focused on his short-format game. After finding form for Glamorgan in their final first-class match before the T20 Blast kicked off, scoring 44 and 63no after a scratchy start to the season, he has started the tournament in impressive touch, hitting 93no and 59 while taking 1-18 and 1-17.
Labuschagne was omitted from Australia's preliminary white-ball squad for the upcoming tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh, with selectors content to see him instead push his case for the T20 World Cup via the Blast.
"Any time you can't go to play for Australia is a very disappointing time, but the silver lining is that I get to play most of the T20 comp here and almost double the amount of T20s I have played in my career – I've played 16 before and I will play 14 here," he told The Times last week.
"I would love to be playing in the World Cup in a few months. I don't know if it is a realistic goal from the selectors, but it is a realistic goal from my perspective."