Marnus Labuschagne follows path less travelled to etch name into cricketing folklore with maiden test century against Pakistan at the Gabba

MARNUS Labuschagne thrilled the Gabba crowd on his way to a spellbinding century against Pakistan this week but it is the story of his rise from park cricketer to cult hero that should be admired.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Marnus Labuschagne signing autographs during the first test against Pakistan at the Gabba in Brisbane. Photo: Cricket Australia/Getty Images

MAN OF THE HOUR: Marnus Labuschagne signing autographs during the first test against Pakistan at the Gabba in Brisbane. Photo: Cricket Australia/Getty Images

As the dust settled on his maiden test century - and career best score of 185 - Labuschagne asked someone how his club side Redlands Tigers did in grade cricket on Saturday.

It is not the kind of question a player would normally ask amid a man of the match performance but Labuschagne is not a normal cricketer.

Those that know him best say he is a cricket tragic and remains as connected to his roots as when he first entered the Australian dressing room.

Stories about Marnus the coach, the family man, the devout Christian and the teenage hotspot operator have abound since he burst onto the international scene last year but his career started like many others in Queensland's club competition.

RAISE THE BAT: Redlands Tigers product Marnus Labuschagne celebrates his maiden test century against Pakistan at the Gabba. Photo: Cricket Australia/Getty Images

RAISE THE BAT: Redlands Tigers product Marnus Labuschagne celebrates his maiden test century against Pakistan at the Gabba. Photo: Cricket Australia/Getty Images

He made his grade debut for Redlands as a 15-year-old, scoring just 56 runs at an average of eight in fifth grade during the 2009/10 season.

He was dropped to sixth grade shortly after but went on to earn a first grade cap two years later when his batting finally clicked into gear.

A man that knows his journey better than most is veteran Redlands cricketer Matthew Williamson, who was Labuschagne's first grade captain.

Despite his lean run in fifth grade, Williamson said he knew Labuschagne would achieve great results at the next level.

"He was struggling to hit the ball off the square at the time," he said.

"I think he averaged two and a half. That would not get you a start in the Cunnamulla under 20s in Z grade as a bowler.

"Others have been dropped in the past and it has been a negative for them but I didn't think it would be for Marnus because he was always going to play higher grades.

"He always had the potential. He was always going to do it. The only thing going against him was that he was so young."

Williamson said Labuschagne's appetite for training and willingness to improve his game had put him on the path to stardom.

"He works really hard," he said. "If there is one person who deserves success it is Marnus because he loves the game so much and is so passionate about it."

"I always turn the TV on and hope he does well because I want him to do the club proud."

Despite his new found fame, Marnus still finds time to share tips and tricks from the inner sanctum of Australian cricket with his academy players at Redlands.

He was seen throwing balls to his band of future stars at the club's nets just weeks out from the first test.

Many players in his position would have been quietly preparing behind the scenes but Labuschagne's club mates say he loves being around the game.

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