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Monday, February 26, 2024

No time to sulk as Labuschagne seeks answers for Australia

Date:

Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne has urged his teammates not to dwell on his side’s winless start to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and believes there is still time for the five-time champions to regain their best form and qualify for the knockout stages.

The Aussies were sloppy in the field and failed to gain much momentum with the bat as they fell to a second consecutive loss at the event when defeated by South Africa at Atal Behari Vajpayee Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Consecutive losses to start the tournament leaves Australia in a situation where they can afford very few slip ups over their remaining seven group matches.

While New Zealand qualified for the semi-final stage of the most recent World Cup in 2019 with five wins and one no result, Australia are now likely to need to win at least six of their final seven group matches in India to have any chance of claiming an unprecedented sixth title, an ICC report said.

Their quest to do that will begin when they take on Sri Lanka in Lucknow on Monday and Labuschagne is confident his team can quickly turn around their fortunes.

“We can be disappointed about this performance, we can be disappointed about lots of things… but the reality is you can’t sit and sulk in the changing room,” Labuschagne said after Australia’s 134-run loss to South Africa.

“We’ve got to take action and we’ve got to get our tournament underway and in three days time we’ve got Sri Lanka here and I don’t know how, this is my first World Cup, but I don’t know how the points system works but we’re going to need to win every game from here I assume or at least very, very close to get into that four,” he said.

“But once again, it’s the reason Australia has won the World Cup five times. It is because we play well under pressure and we haven’t started well, but this is the beginning not the end,” Labuschagne said.

While Australia will be looking for rapid improvement in every aspect of the game, one department they will seek an immediate response in is their fielding after a host of chances went begging against the Proteas.

All-rounder Marcus Stoinis put down a sitter later in South Africa’s innings, skipper Pat Cummins grassed a gettable return catch off his own bowling, while Mitchell Starc, Josh Inglis and sub-fielder Sean Abbott were other culprits that missed chances.

Labuschagne made no excuses for Australia’s poor performance in the field and expects his side to execute better in this discipline as the tournament progresses.

“I’m not here to sit and make excuses,” he said.

“We’re playing the World Cup for Australia and we have to be ready and we have to be better than that,” Labuschagne said.

“It’s hard to put your finger on it. We’re one of the best fielding sides in the world – we pride ourselves on that and we just didn’t seem to get it right today,” he said.

“We created opportunities and just didn’t take them and it just wasn’t a great performance from us. But we have to bounce back and get this train rolling,” Labuschagne added.

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