Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne, who bats at No. 3, says he is ready to open in the interest of his national team which faces a dearth of opening options following a groin injury to David Warner and a concussion to young Will Pucovski.
The other options for Australia are Joe Burns, who has been battling poor form, and Marcus Harris, who was drafted in on Friday in place of Pucovski.
“Look, whatever the team needs I think that is our job to do as cricketers. It is about making sure that we do what is best for the team. If the team needs me to open, then that is what I’ll do. But we’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out with the few other moving parts currently. Like I said it is a team sport and it is about winning games and if it (him opening) is the best way to win games, that is what we’ll do," said Labuschagne during the interaction with media on Saturday.
Labuschagne said that he is preparing to bat at practice sessions and is not worried if he opens or bats at three.
“I think that (my opening position in Test match) will be communicated if that is the option we are going to go down with. For me, I am just preparing to bat if that is at one or three, it doesn’t matter for me. I am just making sure I am ready to face the ball no matter what the circumstances are," the batsman added.
Opener Burns is going through a poor patch, having scored four, zero and zero in the three innings of the two warm-up games against the touring Indians. Burns has not even crossed 30 in his last nine innings and has just a century and a fifty in 14 first-class innings, including Sheffield Shield matches, this season.
Labuschagne is hoping that Burns scores in the second innings of the ongoing second warm-up tie.
“Spoke to Joe a couple of nights ago. He is going alright. We all have been there where you want the runs badly. (But) a few innings aren’t a judgement on a player’s ability and how he is going. I have got full faith in Joe that if he is selected, he will be right to go. He is a man for big moments and getting in the contest. I hope he gets runs in second innings and quietens everyone down. Like I said he is a very good player," said Labuschagne.
The 26-year-old South Africa-born player, who has played 12 Tests for Australia and made his debut just over two years ago, has provided the Aussies with extra bowling option over the last few games. While he has scored 1459 runs at an average of 63.43 with four centuries and eight half-centuries, he has also picked 12 wickets. He picked three for 45 against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi two years ago in what is his best spell in a Test innings.
“It is no different from what we have been playing for the last few series. You know I have been the fifth bowling option for the last five series. So it is no different from any other Test match I have played. Yeah, I am making sure I am always ready to bowl and I like when I get the opportunity to bowl and am making sure that when that time comes I am ready," said Labuschagne.
“We traditionally have gone with three fast bowlers and a spinner for probably all tests I have played. I can’t see us varying from that but obviously with the likes of Cameron Green - that definitely adds a bowling dimension to our side and that can be really nice," added Labuschagne.
Labuschagne is confident that both Green, who provides an additional bowling and batting option, and opener Pucovski will be ready for the first Test.
“Hopefully he (Green) will be fine and the same with Will. As I said it is not a skill thing, they are both good enough. They are making sure that they are going through things that we need to do post concussion," said Labuschagne.
(With IANS inputs)