Whenever Test cricket’s dominant forces in the batting department are talked about, the usual suspects – Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson – come to mind. Bucking this trend of these players grabbing the spotlight in the longer format, Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne shot to prominence this year and claimed all the accolades.
The gutsy 25-year-old batsman broke into the Australian playing XI by accident after making an unimpressive start to his Test career last year. He was named as Test cricket’s first concussion substitute in the second Ashes Test after Smith was felled by a dangerous bouncer from Jofra Archer. He soon made an impact with a terrific half-century helping his team clinch onto a draw.
Labuschagne finished the series with a slew of fifties, ending up as Australia’s second-leading run-getter in the series behind Smith’s Bradman-esque period with the bat. The advent of Australia’s international summer of cricket only made Labuschagne’s fortunes swell even further as he racked up three consecutive centuries against Pakistan and New Zealand.
His magnificent run in Test cricket has thus helped him end the year as the highest run-scorer – the most unlikely candidate to achieve this feat. He boasts a tally of 1022 runs across 10 matches at an average of 68.13 in the year 2019.