Livewire Queensland Bull Marnus Labuschagne will become the State’s latest Test debutant tomorrow after confirmation of the Australian team to play Pakistan in the First Test in the UAE.
Australian captain Tim Paine today confirmed the line-up for the Test would contain the Bulls right-hander, who has made every post a winner since touring India with Australia ‘A’ in August.
He joins Queensland captain Usman Khawaja in the line-up, although the celebrations for Labuschagne’s selection were slightly muted by the surprise omission of Test incumbent Matthew Renshaw.
Renshaw had completed a successful recovery from a head knock in the only tour game but was overlooked due to concerns he had not played enough recent cricket.
That call aside, the elevation of Labuschagne was greeted with delight by his Queensland teammates, engaged in a tense battle with Tasmania in their JLT One Day Cup semi-final in Sydney.
Paine was pleased to announce the Test line-up, although he felt for Renshaw.
"Marnus has played quite a bit of cricket on the A tour and he's in really good form and he deserves a chance.
"(Renshaw) has had a bit of an unlucky run with injury, he missed a game in India (on the A tour) and then got hit on the head and couldn't bat in the (tour) game."
The XI for the first Test sees Usman Khawaja promoted to open with another debutant in Victorian Aaron Finch, which Paine suggested was a combination picked specifically for subcontinental conditions.
Allrounder and new vice-captain Mitch Marsh has been promoted to No.4 after his brother Shaun at No.3, while Head slots in at five ahead of Labuschagne.
Labuschange's surge comes after initially missing selection for the four-day leg of the recent 'A' series in India. Only Renshaw made more runs than the South African-born right-hander in the JLT Sheffield Shield last season, while Labuschagne is also a handy leg-spin bowler and specialist short-leg fielder.