Setbacks hardened Marnus for ultimate test
JIMMY Peirson has known Marnus Labuschagne's since he was an 11-year-old who would talk in a foreign tongue to his mother on the train home.
Labuschagne, who has been the breakout batting success story of the Ashes with three successive half centuries, has had to fight hard to reach the top in cricket, but Queensland captain Peirson senses the bumpy road has been the making of him.
"They said he was not strong enough or big enough or did not score his runs fast enough,'' Peirson said. "He did not always make the rep sides growing up and all of those things really hardened him. He has been ready for this moment for a very long time.
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"Even in his senior career I remember he was upgraded to a full (Queensland) contract but the following year was taken off the contract list before he earned his contract again.
"In a Shield match in Perth, he scored a century but was dropped for Joe Burns in the next game. All of these setbacks have built his resilience and that is why when he is given the opportunity he takes it.
"He has got mongrel. He has always had his back against the wall. People wrote him off early.''
Peirson used to play junior club cricket with Labuschagne in Redlands and they would travel home on the same train from Brisbane State High School.
"I have known Marnus since he was 11 and he has always had that extra bit of hardness about him which has made him right for Test cricket," Peirson said.
"Afters school we would catch the train all the way back to Birkdale. When his mum called he would talk in Afrikaans. You would hear him talking and think 'what is that?'. He is a great story.
"It's funny how some people just take an opportunity when they get there. It came as a shock to some people he got picked but his personality and his hardened nature really resonates with Justin Langer and what he is trying to do with that Test team.
"Batting at the Gabba has made Marnus ready-made for English conditions and that is why he is having some success.
"He has not changed a single bit no matter what he has done or where he has played. He is the same old Marnus.''