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Man of the match

Howzat!?! Kidzone bowled some questions about cricket, faith and family to Aussie run-machine Marnus Labuschagne!

Kidzone: What does it feel like to make 100 - or even 200+ - runs for Australia?

Marnus Labuschagne: It’s always great to score runs, whether it’s for Australia, Queensland, the Heat, Glamorgan or my local cricket club. But cricket is a team sport, so the real motivation and enjoyment is about being able to contribute to the team’s performance by scoring runs and doing anything else I can to contribute. I also find it very satisfying when the hard work pays off and the plans I work on in the nets are successful. It’s why my focus is on the process, not the result.

What age did you start playing cricket?

I had a bat and ball in my hand from the age of two and started playing organised cricket as soon as I was old enough, which was around five years old. I loved sport growing up, whether it was rugby, tennis, golf or other sports. I was always playing, watching or talking about sport.

What made you want to be a professional cricketer?

To be able to do what you love every day is the dream of every kid. For me, cricket was my favourite thing to do, so that was always my goal.

What do you love so much about cricket?

I love getting to spend lots of time around your teammates, playing a game I love, but also being able to practise as much as I want is awesome. I love the challenge of getting better, in cricket or otherwise, and cricket’s an extremely challenging game physically and mentally, so there are always things to do and ways to improve. What else? I love the opportunities cricket gives me to give back to others.

You’ve made tons of runs lately, but every cricketer has times when things aren’t going their way. How do you cope when you’re not making as many runs as you’d like?

I never make as many runs as I’d like! In all seriousness, though, I stick to the processes I have and don’t get too caught up in the emotions or results. I work hard with my coaches on plans for how I am going to bat and to build a technique that is resilient and can work against the best bowlers in the world. Sometimes in cricket, you just have bad days or you get an unlucky bounce, so I try to not get caught up in the negative thoughts, but continue to practise and trust the processes I have built. You’re always one innings away from a big score!

Something else that is super important to you is your faith in God. Why is God important to you?

My faith is a big part of my life and always has been. From a very young age, my parents were very influential in teaching me about my religion and getting me involved in church. My faith is instrumental in helping me maintain a perspective on everything I’m doing, including that cricket isn’t the most important thing in life and my meaning and value as a person doesn’t come from what I do, but rather who God has made me to be.

You have a favourite Bible verse written on your bat, and even some in your shoes. What are they? My mum has always encouraged my faith over the years and she used to put Bible verses on my shoes, bats and other places around the house. I just continued that practice and today I have an eagle sticker on the bottom of my bat, with the verse Isaiah 40:31, " … but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This verse is again a great reminder of where my strength comes from.

What’s the best thing about playing cricket for Australia?

Everything. Getting to do what I love every day. It’s awesome to play against the best players in the world, too, and improve my skills.

How many bats do you go through in a year?

Great question. I probably go through about 10 to 15 bats a year. Generally, I'll only have one game bat and a bunch of others that I’ll use for training.

What’s your favourite format to play: Test cricket, ODI (one day international), or T20?

Test Cricket! I get to bat for hours! And then bat again! I love the physical challenge of batting for long periods of time and the mental discipline and patience it requires.

What’s your advice for young cricketers who’d love to grow up to play for Australia?

There aren’t any secrets or shortcuts. Many years of consistent practice, hard work and training is the only way. Stay patient and keep working on your skills and then when an opportunity comes along, you will be ready to take it. Focus on the process and just work as hard as you can. Apart from that, don’t get too caught up on the final goal, but focus on the next game in front of you and how you’ll make an impact to help your team win.

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