Marnus Labuschagne has been handed ODI cap No.229 after his place in the final XI for Australia’s opening match against India was confirmed, with Aaron Finch winning the toss and electing to bowl.
Labuschagne was told the news days out from the Mumbai clash, with interim coach Andrew McDonald and captain Finch opting for the Queenslander over Victorian Peter Handscomb.
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, who is in India filming a documentary, presented the cap to Australia’s latest starter.
Australia’s newest Test hero will bat at No.4 behind Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith, the 25-year-old impressing selectors in the lead-up to the opening match of the three-game series.
Labuschagne’s introduction makes him the first Australian debutant since Ashton Turner on the same tour less than 10 months ago, with Turner likely to bat at six in Mumbai.
Labuschagne performed impressively at first drop for the Bulls in last year’s Marsh One-Day Cup, posting 364 runs at an average of 60.66 and strike rate of 100.55.
The South Africa-born batsman will have a baptism of fire, up against the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler in Jasprit Bumrah, a task he’s ready to face.
“They’re the toughest opponent in the world at the moment in any format, so to be able to play them on their home grounds will be a real challenge and it’s exciting,” Labuschagne said.
“As a player you want to play against the best and perform against the best and there’s no better place to do it in India against India.”
Australia has not contested a 50-over fixture since last year’s ICC World Cup in the UK, where they made the semi-finals.
Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Lyon featured in the losing semi against eventual champions England.
They have been replaced by Labuschagne, Turner, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, who edged out Josh Hazlewood.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa
India XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Shereyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravi Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Australia Qantas ODI Tour of India 2020
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.
First ODI: January 14, Mumbai (D/N) (Fox & Kayo)
Second ODI: January 17, Rajkot (D/N) (Fox & Kayo)
Third ODI: January 19, Bengaluru (D/N) (Fox & Kayo)