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Wisden title an honour: Marnus Labuschagne

By AAP Newswire

Marnus Labuschagne celebrated the latest accolade in his stunning rise to the top of international cricket by having a hit, as best you can in isolation.

Australians Labuschagne, Pat Cummins and Ellyse Perry have been named three of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year, a prestigious honour that dates back to 1889.

The prospect of Labuschagne making the cut at the start of 2019, when his recall at No.3 for the SCG Test was heavily criticised by pundits and many past players, was unthinkable.

But the right-hander proceeded to go from strength to strength in remarkable fashion.

Labuschagne scored a mountain of county runs to break into Australia's Ashes squad, stepped up as Steve Smith's concussion substitute at Lord's then posted four Test tons during a prolific home summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given Labuschagne time to stop and reflect on his rapid development, but an inability to hit the nets and uncertainty about when cricket will resume have also dominated the thoughts of someone whose love of batting is perhaps rivalled only by that of mentor Smith.

The 25-year-old has put down a synthetic mat, running through the garage and out into the backyard of his home in Brisbane, to create a 'pitch' and taped up some tennis balls in an attempt to try to stay sharp.

"I'm lucky enough that I've actually got one of my best mates living with me at the moment," Labuschagne told SEN.

"I've missed it (batting).

"Him and I are getting a few throwdowns, and doing a bit of training.

"That's about as much cricket as I'm getting."

Labuschagne was chuffed to be named among the sport's elite.

"It's a real privilege and an honour," he said.

"I hadn't really had time to sit back and think about what I've been able to achieve (over the past 18 months). This time now makes you sit and reflect."

Labuschagne's return to county Glamorgan is in extreme doubt because of the current health crisis, while Australia's tours of Bangladesh (June) and England (July) are also likely to be scrapped.

Meanwhile, former umpire Ian Gould has claimed Australia were "out of control" as a team and "pretty average people" in the years leading up to the Cape Town cheating scandal.

Gould was in the third-umpire box at Newlands when a piece of sandpaper turned the sport on its head.

"I didn't realise what the repercussions would be," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"When it came into my earpiece, I didn't think the Prime Minister of Australia was going to come tumbling down on these three guys ... what's come from it is for the betterment of Australian cricket - and cricket generally."