Keeping up with Australia’s unparalleled obsession with backyard cricket, star batsman Marnus Labuschagne is ensuring he isn’t out of practice. Though the only difference is that the allrounder is batting against a tennis ball on a synthetic makeshift strip in the garage of his home in Brisbane.

Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, Labuschagne would currently be in Glamorgan playing cricket for the County side, but for the time being, is limited to his house. However, that doesn’t stop him from undergoing batting drills, albeit in a extremely different circumstances.

“I have for the last couple of days, just because I’ve missed it,” Labuschagne told Melbourne’s SEN Radio, explaining this is the first time he’s indulged in any form of cricket since the first ODI against New Zealand. “I’m lucky enough that I’ve actually got one of my best mates living with me at the moment. He’s in isolation with me. So me and him are getting a few throw downs, and doing a bit of training.

“That’s about as much cricket as I’m getting… a taped-up tennis ball in the backyard with a dog thrower. I’m playing a little bit of tennis, where it’s allowed with the isolation rules to get my fitness in. And I’m doing gym, so there’s a lot of stuff to stay on top of.”

Labuschagne has made rapid strides since walking out as a concussion substitute against England last year, Labuschagne has been on a red-hot streak, piling runs in Tests. Against Pakistan in the two-Test series, the batsman tallied 347 from two Tests slamming hundreds in Brisbane and Adelaide. Labuschagne then went on to face the New Zealand attack at home and was virtually unstoppable as he amassed 549 runs in three Tests with two centuries and three fifties.

For a wonderful start to his Test career, he was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year and Labuschagne admits this break has given him the opportunity to look back and assess his monumental climb so early in his career.

“The game had moved so quick for me in the last 18 months I hadn’t really had time to sit back and go ‘this is what I’ve achieved, this is what I’ve been able to do’,” he said. “This time now makes you sit down and reflect on what’s happened and how it’s all unfolded. You try to speak to people, you try and stay positive, and think ‘oh well, we’re going to be back playing soon’. And the problem is no-one really knows how this is unfolding.

Labuschagne, like the rest of us, doesn’t when things will go back to being normal but he really hopes it happens at the earliest.

“For me, it’s just about taking it week by week and day by day, just trying to improve myself in other areas of life that I’ve probably neglected for the last couple of months. So that’s my challenge,” the batsman added.

“But I really hope that it all turns quickly and that we get on top of this virus and get back playing and see not just cricket, but live sport. I don’t know how long away we are from getting crowds back in grounds, but I think our first objective is to get sport back on television.”