Klerksdorp-born Marnus Labuschagne, the first player ‘charged’ with fake fielding, is following in the footsteps of Kepler Wessels for Australia.
The Labuschagne name is rooted in South African heritage with a heavy link to people from Afrikaans decent. The traces link back to the Dutch East Indian company through a French immigrant Pierre Labuscaigne, who embarked for the Orient in 1710.
Through various circumstances and events, his family name eventually migrated to the Eastern Cape but left during the Great Trek, starting in 1836, and migrated to places of resettlement, most notably in the Transvaal and Free State, as well as Natal. Some descendants even fought in the Battle of Vegkop as well as the Battle of Blood River in 1838. But that’s enough of a wiki-history lesson, the point has been made – you can not get more blatantly South African than the Labuschagne name.
Born in Klerksdorp in the North West, the 10-year-old Marnus Labuschagne moved to Australia with his parents, to Brisbane in Queensland, the destination of one of South African cricket’s most favourite exports – Kepler Wessels. This is where Marnus started playing cricket, representing Queensland at U15, U17 and U19 levels. His first-class debut followed in 2014-15 in the Sheffield Shield, opening the batting and scoring 83 in his first innings in first-class cricket. He kicked on from there, scoring 2,147 runs at an average of 35.19 in his 34-match career.
In 2017, he made history by becoming the first fielder to fall foul of cricket’s new ‘fake fielding’ rule, costing the Queensland Bulls five penalty runs in their match against the Cricket Australia XI in Brisbane.
Labuschagne dived to field a ball which eluded him, then pretended to have collected the ball and made as if to throw the ball into the stumps when, in fact, it was on its way to a fielder in the deep. The contravention led to five runs being awarded to the Cricket Australia XI in line with the new rule that was created to ‘intentionally deceiving or distracting a batsman’.
At 24, his performances earned him a call-up to Australia A where he took on South Africa A in Bengaluru in an ODI and scored 65 against his former countrymen in a 32-run win. His consistent form continued, including scores of 60 and 37 for Australia A in the first unofficial Test against India A, earning him a call-up to the Australia Test squad to take on Pakistan, with the first Tests starting on 7 October at Dubai International Stadium.
At the time of the announcement, he ironically scored a pair in the second unofficial Test against India A.
Other famous Labuschagnes are Cathlene Labuschagne (South African politician), Lappies Labuschagné (former Cheetahs captain) and Leon Labuschagne (South African Paralympic athlete).
Photo: Albert Perez/Getty Images