We love our cricket heroes. It might be hard to believe, but they all started out as young kids just like you.
Can you pick who these star players are from the photographs of them as children?
Here’s a hint about the player above: he’s a 27-year-old right-hander from Queensland who’s very handy with the bat and can also be called upon to bowl leg spin.
That’s right, it’s Marnus Labuschagne!
Labuschagne grew up in cricket-mad South Africa until the age of nine, when he moved with his family to Australia.
Encouraged by sporty parents, Labuschagne picked up a cricket bat from the age of two or three.
“I just loved it, I fell in love with the game at a very young age and never fell out of love with the game, which is really nice,” Labuschagne said.
“This is going to sound strange but since the day I can remember I only ever wanted to play cricket. There was nothing else I ever wanted to do, I only ever wanted to play cricket from the age of about three.”
Labuschagne made his debut* for Queensland at age 20 and at 23 pulled on the Baggy Green* cap for the Australian Test team for the first time.
He said there were many factors that helped make his childhood dream a reality, but his determination to work hard and overcome obstacles were key.
“I was always very determined and always willing to work harder than anyone else,” he said.
“In cricket you fail a lot, you miss out a lot and things don’t go your way a lot, but I was able to get knocked down and keep believing and keep believing and keep believing.
“The perseverance* and the commitment turned it for me in the end.”
But that’s not to say it all went according to plan. Labuschagne’s Test debut wasn’t quite how he dreamt it. He went out for a duck* after facing just two balls in the match against Pakistan in 2018.
“Life isn’t always rosy and it’s not always perfect, but you need to keep getting up, you need to keep persevering*,” he said.
Since then Labuschagne has cemented* himself in the Australian Test team and is preparing to take on England in the first match of the Ashes series at the Gabba in Brisbane from December 8.
His advice for kids is to try to find something you love doing.
“I fell in love with cricket, I love the game, I don’t feel like it’s work, I don’t feel like it’s a chore,” he said.
“Find something that you are passionate about and care deeply. Let those things drive your aspirations* and your commitment to push yourself and keep getting better.”
CAN YOU PICK WHO THESE YOUNG CRICKETERS ARE?
You can try to guess the identity of more young cricketers on the Blast(er) from the Past segment on BlastCast, Cricket Australia’s video series for kids on the Cricket Blast YouTube channel.
BlastCast, hosted by Rana Hussain and Andy Sunderland, includes fun and games with Aussie cricket stars plus tips to improve your cricket skills.
Watch the first episode of BlastCast below or catch the full series on the Woolworths Cricket Blast YouTube channel. There are six episodes in the series, with one released every two weeks until January 9, 2022.
BlastCast blasts off
* Follow the Summer of Cricket on Fox Sports and Kayo
- debut: first appearance
- Baggy Green: the special cap worn by cricketers chosen for the Australian Test team
- perseverance: to keep doing something even though it is hard
- duck: a cricket term that means a batting score of zero
- persevering: keep trying to do something even though it is hard
- cemented: lodged, made permanent or hard to move
- aspirations: hopes, ambitions to achieve something
- Where did Marnus Labuschagne grow up until he was nine?
- Which state does he live in now?
- How old was Marnus Labuschagne when he made his Test debut for Australia?
- What disappointing thing happened in his debut Test match?
- What is the name of Cricket Australia’s video series for kids?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. Cricket and Life Advice
Marnus Labuschagne gives lots of good advice on how he got to be a star cricketer but some good life lessons as well. Write down five key things that Marnus believes got him to where he is in his sporting career today.
How can you apply these to everyday life as well?
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and social, Critical and creative thinking
Do you think to excel at a sport, you need to begin as early as Marnus around the age of two or three? Would this be different for different sports? Do you know of a well-known sports person that may have started learning their chosen sport at a much later age?
Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical education, Critical and creative thinking
My Sporting Hero
Write a letter to one of your sports heroes. Explain to them how proud you are of them, why they are a hero to you, and that you have noticed them. Your letter can be anonymous or you can personally sign it off.
Remember when writing a letter:
- Start with a greeting such as “Dear Sir,”
- Then on a new line, write the body of the letter.
- Finish with a closing such as “Kind regards,”
- And finally, sign the letter.
Try to include detail and emotion in the letter to connect with your target audience, your sporting hero.