ICC World Cup final: The 'sound of silence' in India is a great sound, says Marnus Labuschagne
Both Australian heroes of the final yesterday — Labuschagne and centurion Travis Head — came in from the cold to do a star turn apiece
Marnus Labuschagne—one of the heroes of Australia’s sixth World Cup win yesterday night along with Travis Head—is a man of faith.
He believes in giving credit to ‘’no one else but the Man above, honestly’’ — and there was indeed a touch of providence that brought these two players to collaborate in one of their country’s greatest wins against all odds.
When the Australian squad left its home shores for a build-up ODI series and the World Cup in India in late September, Head was nursing a broken hand at home from their earlier series against South Africa. Pat Cummins & Co started their campaign with only 14 men available in their 15-member roster, and started with back-to-back losses before the southpaw joined them.
Head’s return as an opener with David Warner yielded immediate returns — and a vindication of the team management’s faith in him was his Player of the Match award in both the semi-final and the final. This puts Head in good company—only three players have done it in the past: Mohinder Amarnath (1983), Aravinda De Silva (1996) and Shane Warne (1999).
‘’Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought I was going to be here,’’ Head said at the award ceremony, of his defiant 137 off 120 balls, which included 15 fours and 4 sixes against arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament.
If Head played the only way he knows how, Test specialist Labuschagne played the foil to him, soaking up the pressure after Australia were reduced to 47 for 3.
Despite establishing himself as a stabilising force in their batting line-up for the last few years, Labuschagne was not originally in Cricket Australia’s scheme of things. He was only drafted in as a replacement for the injured spinner all-rounder Ashton Agar.
‘’It’s hard not believe in miracles. I am a main of faith and the way the last 19 games have gone, there’s no way I can give credit to anyone else but the Man above, honestly,’’ a candid Labuschagne said at the mixed zone chat with the media. ‘’I was dropped from the squad five times, unofficially. It was only for the last two games that I have been in the team with a fully fit squad,’’ he revealed.
Even the night before the final, he was not sure of getting into the playing XI, as it was a toss-up between him and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis: ‘’The team had not been announced till 10 at night. I was sitting on my bed, actually thinking about how I can add value if I was not playing—may be fielding or on the bench, what can I do to help?—and then at quarter past 10, the message came through and it just said 'Same time. Good luck, guys.' So that was a bit of relief!’’
Labuschagne believes that it was his discipline of playing it like a Test match which helped him carve out that unbeaten 58 off 110 balls.
But what was it like to see such a giant crowd falling silent? Labuschagne took recourse to the immortal Simon and Gurfunkel number when he said: ‘’The sound of silence in India is a great sound—because it means you are on top.’’