Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne have buddied up this summer in the Australian camp, with the former captain taking the team’s most improved batsman under his wing. And the bromance was on full display in the Adelaide Oval nets on Wednesday night during Australia’s main training session under lights before the second Test. With Smith padded up, Labuschagne spent 30 minutes bowling leg-spin at the Australia No.4, who let the 25-year-old know about it every time he put him away for what he deemed a one, two or a four. When Labuschagne eventually enticed a top edge that flew rapidly into the back netting, he was thrilled. “Who’s catching that?” Smith asked, indicating the ball would have careered over the ‘keeper and slips. Labuschagne was unfazed: “Doesn’t matter – electric wickie!”
Australians remember Hughes
The Australian side paid tribute to lost teammate Phillip Hughes in the middle of Adelaide Oval on the fifth anniversary of his death. Langer assembled the players in a circle on Wednesday night to mark the sad occasion. “Guys who had spent a lot of time with him told some stories about Hughesy and times they had spent with him,” captain Tim Paine said. “It was about just trying to remember him in a positive way. And remind ourselves how lucky we are to be playing the game he loved and that we loved and how much playing for his country meant for Hughesy. For us to never take that for granted. It was a really nice moment just to share some funny memories and stories of him growing up and coming through the ranks. It was a really nice time out in the middle.”
Fast times at cartel party
The Australian quicks like to joke about the so-called fast bowlers’ cartel, and their pride of place at the back of the team bus. Well, membership of that exclusive group lasts a lifetime, as was demonstrated by a gathering of Test pacemen of old such as Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie at the Story Bridge Hotel in Brisbane last week for the cartel “AGM”. Adam Gilchrist and Mike Hussey were also invited along as honorary members, with Hussey performing an important duty by keeping the minutes.
Cabbie gets more than fare deal
Yasir Shah has shared his part of a touching story out of Brisbane, first told by ABC commentator Alison Mitchell, in which a group of Pakistan players invited an Indian cab driver for dinner after he refused to take their money.
“We were not aware of any Indian or Pakistani restaurants in Brisbane. So when we five teammates stepped out — Imran Khan, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Musa, Shaheen Shah Afridi and I — we called a taxi,” Yasir said. “The driver was a Paaji from India. We told him to take us to a nice restaurant. He recognised us and we chit-chatted in Urdu about cricket. He refused to take the fare from us when we reached the restaurant. I told him, ‘You either have to take the fare or have dinner with us.’ So he agreed for the dinner. He was very happy that we invited him to dinner and also clicked pictures with us.”