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Labuschagne joins top echelon of Australian cricket

“We have been seeking financial information from CA regarding CA’s forecast revenues, cash flow and cash flow facility,” the union’s cricket operations manager Brendan Drew wrote to players in an email seen by the Herald. “We have received some information and have sought more which we expect to receive in the next few days.”

Superstar quick Pat Cummins is expected to retain his No.1 ranking ahead of Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc, with Labuschagne not far behind after his stellar campaigns in the Ashes and at home.

Marnus Labuschagne's stunning rise was rewarded with a Cricket Australia contract.

Marnus Labuschagne’s stunning rise was rewarded with a Cricket Australia contract.Credit:Getty

Even with any reduction brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the Queenslander is in line for a bumper pay day reflected by his rise up CA’s rankings.

As the reigning Test player of the year, Labuschagne should rate highly in the system used by selectors, who are asked to rank players from one to 20 in all three forms of the game in determining their list. Test ratings are given the highest weighting ahead of ODIs then Twenty20s.

While Labuschagne has not amassed years of service like Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and captain Tim Paine, contracts are primarily based on performances in the past 12 months and a player’s likelihood of selection in the coming year.

Labuschagne should also have a reasonably high ODI ranking having impressed in his first two series in that format whereas Lyon, Paine and, to a lesser extent, Hazlewood have not been regulars in Australia’s 50-over set-up.

Hohns spoke glowingly of Labuschagne’s character and work ethic, factors he said also came into consideration in ranking players.

“He’s been fantastic, hasn’t he? I think everyone for a period of time was waiting for the bubble to burst, to be honest, but he’s gone from strength to strength representing Australia – not only in Test cricket but one-day cricket as well,” Hohns said.

“He’s been a revelation and he deserves all the accolades he gets because he’s one of those players that work so hard, he’s probably one of the hardest workers in that group, but he’s dragging other along with him. So he’s had a massive influence in that area as well, as far as work ethic etc goes.”

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Resurgent Tasmanian Matthew Wade regains his national contract after two years out, this time as a specialist batsman, while incumbent Test opener Joe Burns and white-ball specialists Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson were also winners.

There was some angst by selectors in excluding Khawaja but his lean run at Shield level since his demotion in last year’s Ashes forced their hand.

The left-hander has lost his No.3 Test berth to Labuschagne and finds white-ball captain Aaron Finch and batting aces Smith and Warner ahead of him in the top order in the limited-overs formats. If he returns to the Test side, it is likely to be as an opener – a view shared by Hohns.

“A lot will depend on how Usman comes back, where he bats for his state and then it’s a matter of really demanding to be chosen again,” Hohns said. “There’s no reason Usman couldn’t
open the batting for Australia down the track.”

Peter Handscomb, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Harris also fell off the list having not been selected in any Australian side since last year.

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