ICC World Cup: Marnus Labuschagne says no excuses for Australian loss

Australian batting star Marnus Labuschagne conceded his team had played “a lot” of cricket in the lead-up to the World Cup but ruled it out as an excuse, with the five-time champions’ tournament hopes in a tailspin.

A controversial decision was the talking point in the wake of the record loss to South Africa in Lucknow, but it mattered little to a result that has left the Australians winless after two matches and with questions being asked about their batting and selections.

Workload issues are also taking hold, with Cameron Green on the verge of burnout after a monster year and several players, including struggling Mitch Marsh, who has begun the World Cup with scores of zero and seven, entering the tournament having played cricket non-stop since the start of September with series against South Africa and then India.

Australia’s first-choice spinner Adam Zampa is also battling, with figures of 1-123 through the opening two games, while keeper Alex Carey was dropped for Josh Inglis.

Labuschagne, who was a late addition to the World Cup squad after an injury to opener Travis Head opened the door for him in South Africa, couldn’t deny the Australians had potentially played more lead-in cricket than their opponents.

But he said it couldn’t be used as an excuse after two batting failures, first against India and then the Proteas, left the Australians needing to win all remaining World Cup matches to avoid missing the finals.

“I can‘t speak for each individual on how much cricket we’ve played. We certainly have played a lot, but I’m not here to sit and make excuses,” Labuschagne said.

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

“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, who said he was “filthy” at getting out for 46, a team high in Australia’s miserable total of 177 chasing South Africa’s 7-311, said there was no time for sulking before the next game against Sri Lanka next Monday.

“I mean people are down but we also know we got a job right?” he said.

“We can be disappointed about this performance, we can be disappointed about lots of things, how we played, but the reality is you can’t sit and sulk in the changing room.

“We’ve got to take action and we’ve got to get our tournament under way 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.

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

Labuschagne said the Australian confidence had not been rattled despite two comprehensive losses to begin the tournament.

“Well, I’d consider us one of the top sides and it’s disappointing that we haven’t competed in the last two games, but we’ve just got to make sure we’re learning from these scenarios,” he said.

“I mean, we face probably two polar opposite extremes, heavy spin conditions against probably three of the best, well, two of the best spinners India’s probably ever produced, and then probably one of the best white-ball spinners, and then here against the seaming swinging ball against a team that’s also very good in those conditions.

“So, we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to make sure that we come back stronger for the next fixture.”

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