SA vs AUS: Something to crow about: Doco sheds light on ‘lucky’ Marnus

SA vs AUS, As shocking as Marnus Labuschagne’s admission in a new documentary that a little sticker on his bat may be responsible for some of his unexpected success is his admission that a small sticker on his bat may be responsible some of his incredible success. The first episode of season two of ‘The Test,’ a four-part docuseries published on Amazon Prime Video this Friday, analyses the junction between Labuschagne’s Christian faith and the wonderful fortune he received in his early international career.

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The right-eccentricities handers were highlighted in the documentary’s first season (published in 2020), which followed the Australian men’s team’s struggle to regain the trust of cricket fans in the wake of the 2018 sandpaper controversy. However, a new Labuschagne peculiarity is revealed in the latest installment of the Cricket Australia-commissioned documentary, which follows the side’s fortunes after Justin Langer’s departure through the 2021-22 home Ashes series and following trips to Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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In the first episode, Labuschagne proudly displays a well-honed ritual in which he quickly removes a scalding hot ham-and-cheese sandwich and places it directly into a refrigerator, to be consumed after it has cooled after his next session. Not many people do this, but I enjoy a cold toastie,” he says to the camera from a kitchen in the Gabba changerooms, adding that the cheese should “harden up” in the fridge.

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While the effect of Labsuchagne’s odd eating habits on his run-scoring is unknown, his colleagues believe there is another aspect in his historically great ability to sustain a batting average of over 60. Even Labuschagne is prepared to admit that the black eagle sticker on the back of his willow may have heavenly power. One of the most essential things in sports is your mind, and once your mind starts down a route, you can’t stop it; it just keeps going down that path,” Labuschagne says in the documentary.

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“I don’t believe stickers matter until you start believing they do.” The eagle reminds Labuschagne of a favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 40:31: “He will refresh the strength of those who trust in the Lord. They will fly on eagle’s wings; they will gallop and not tire, they will stroll and not faint.” Christianity, more than cricket, is an integral part of who Labuschagne is. His wife, Rebekah, whom he met at church, and his mother puts biblical scriptures on the bottoms of his cricket shoes.

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“Everyone knows cricket is a big part of my life, but the importance of me as a person lies in my religion,” he explains. Having previously remarked that explaining his convictions to Queensland teammates was a “difficult” facet of his identity when he began his domestic career, Labuschagne’s beliefs now draw few eyebrows.

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Before his BBL debut with the Brisbane Heat, Joe Burns even led a team prayer. So it’s with a smile that his teammates in Australia believe the “crow” (as Usman Khawaja, a devout Muslim whose religion is also investigated in the series, and Warner have jokingly referred to the eagle) on Labsuchagne’s bat may be the explanation for his exceptional good fortune at the wicket.

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Marnus and how fortunate he is – it’s incredible,” Nathan Lyon adds.

The fly-on-the-wall film showed the spinner uncomfortably padded up as a night watchman, preparing to bat as Labuschagne profited from one of three missed catches off his bat during the Adelaide Ashes Test last summer. His 103 against England was the second time he had earned so many lives in a single inning, and he had another reprieve during that innings when a normal caught-behind dismissal was reversed because the bowler, Ollie Robinson, had overstepped.

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Some have even stated that there is quantifiable proof of Labuschagne’s repeated blessings, as David Warner mentions in an interview during the first episode (“I did see a figure – Marnus is the luckiest cricketer in the world,” he adds).

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Not long after his century in Adelaide, CricViz experts crowned Labuschagne the luckiest hitter in international cricket, citing statistics that show no other player has had a greater percentage of catches dropped off their blade over the previous decade and a half. At the time, he had taken 42% of the opportunities he had presented, about double as much as the next lucky Test hitter.

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Fox Cricket recently claimed that Labuschagne had seven “anticipated dismissals” during his eight-hour double century against the West Indies in Perth, as a series of opportunities just escaped fielders, tight lbw reviews went his way, and play-and-misses went unedged.

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Labuschagne may argue that a sample size of 33 Tests and 56 innings is more than enough for any run of good luck to have reverted to the mean by now.  And if it proves persuasive, he may simply recommend following Lyon’s vow: “I’m going to have that bird tattooed on my head”. Season Two of ‘The Test premieres on Prime Video in Australia and throughout the globe on Friday, January 13.

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