When Marnus Labuschagne was picked for the Australian Test squad to face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last October, the Australian selectors were rightly criticised.
Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns – who had both made strong cases for Test selection with good Sheffield Shield form the previous summer and were both averaging more than 40 in first class cricket – were both left out of the Test squad.
Instead the selectors opted for Labuschagne, who at the time averaged a mere 33 at first class level and had just made a pair for Australia A.
Then came the equally ridiculous decision of picking Labuschagne ahead of the in-form Matt Renshaw for the first Test.
The maligned leg-spinning all-rounder failed to pass 50 in his four innings against Pakistan and was axed from the Test team for the India series at home last summer.
He didn’t do much for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield, but was recalled for the Sydney Test because of his bowling… apparently.
He made a decent 81 against a depleted Sri Lanka outfit in Brisbane but failed to fire in his other innings.
Labuschagne finished the Shield season with a batting average 24.47 from his nine games and at the time looked as though he was a long way off a potential Ashes spot.
Then he went to Glamorgan.
Labuschagne’s form for the Welsh county cricket club has been excellent this English summer.
He is currently the leading run scorer in the County Championship Division 2, with 851 runs at 65.46 with three centuries and four 50s from his eight games.
That’s a pretty good return when you consider that his career Shield average for Queensland is just 32.44.
So despite his poor domestic record in Australian conditions, Labuschagne is thriving on the English decks – and the maligned Queenslander is now a very good chance of making the Ashes squad.