Marnus Labuschagne’s South African family travelled five hours to watch him make a golden duck in Bloemfontein but there was nothing but pride for the Australian star who used to put on pads and a helmet to watch cricket on TV.
Labuschagne was cheered on during the second one-day international, which Australia lost by six wickets, by a dozen relatives from his mother’s side of the family.
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The family trekked to the game from Rustenburg, some five hours’ drive from Bloemfontein and not far from Klerksdorp where Labuschagne grew up before moving to Australia aged nine.
Unfortunately for the Labuschagne clan, including his grandmother Ansie and aunties Naudene and Marianne, it was a short-lived affair.
The man of the hour became one of Lungi Ngidi’s six victims when he slashed at a short delivery and was caught at point.
“It was crazy. It was very nice, we all ran down and took videos because we don’t get to see him much,” Naudene said.
“It was a great feeling to see him but I think he felt very bad getting out first ball.”
That was just the second first-ball duck of Marnus Labuschagne's career in all formats #SAvAUS pic.twitter.com/Sf89qSZ894
Australia’s Test player of the year is notorious for being a cricket nuffie, and his family spun tales of a young Labuschagne batting against a brick wall and bribing his relatives to throw buckets of balls for him to face in the nets.
“I remember when a cricket game was on, he would go to his room and he’d get pads, gloves, the helmet, everything,” Naudene said.
“He was four or five, and he’d get everything on and then sit there and watch cricket.”
Also on hand were Labuschagne’s three teenaged cousins Evan, Ruben and Thian, all proudly decked out in Australian cricket shirts.
Labuschagne watched the boys playing for their school team while spending time in South Africa before the ODI series.
“I used to tell the kids at my school ‘one day you will see him get up for Australia. One day you will see him, just keep your eye out’,” high school teacher and cricket coach Marianne said.
“We always thought he was going to make it from the start.”
Marnus couldn’t get it done in front of his family.Source:Getty Images
Saturday’s dead rubber in Potchefstroom, some 40 minutes from Klerksdorp, will be an even bigger family affair.
About 50 friends and relatives from both sides of the family are expected to cheer on Labuschagne along with his wife Rebekah.
Ansie said it was a dream come true to see her grandson playing for Australia, adding that she often stayed up late to cheer him on.
“The games start at half-past one in the morning and I’m always watching,” she said.
“I watch Queensland games and the Big Bash too. I watch everything and I take photos of the TV.”
— Michael Ramsay, AAP
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