Time to Marsh on

Wick­ets boost all- rounder’s case

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

MITCHELL Marsh has con­ceded se­lec­tors were right to dump him from the ICC World Cup in favour of Shane Wat­son, de­spite pos­si­bly end­ing the all- rounder se­lec­tion de­bate in the sec­ond Ashes Test at Lord’s.

The change that many Aus­tralian cricket fans have been de­mand­ing for years hap­pened last week, but it is un­clear why se­lec­tors backed out of their ini­tial shift to­ward Marsh four months ago.

Any chance of an Ashes back­flip to mir­ror the change of heart that oc­curred mid­way through the World Cup dimmed as Marsh led Aus­tralia’s charge on day three to­ward a se­ries- lev­el­ling tri­umph over Eng­land.

Marsh claimed the wick­ets of Alastair Cook ( 96) and Ben Stokes ( 87).

Marsh walked out of his press con­fer­ence hav­ing taken a Test best 2- 23, cheek­ily pre­dict­ing he could be back in front of the cam­eras again the next day be­cause of bat­ting ex­ploits.

“Hope­fully I’ll see you back in here to­mor­row night,” he said.

In March Wat­son dashed Marsh’s World Cup dream, de­spite the se­lec­tors strongly sug­gest­ing days be­fore that they had drawn a line in the sand and were pre­pared to usher in a new era with the younger all- rounder.

The se­lec­tor on duty at the SCG – Mark Waugh – was ef­fec­tively able to over­rule the prior de­ci­sion made by the na­tional se­lec­tor Rod Marsh.

Mitchell Marsh was re­port­edly stunned that two tour match hun­dreds in wins over Kent and Es­sex were not enough to get him into the first Ashes Test.

Re­flect­ing on his World Cup ax­ing, Marsh said he was not ready and doesn’t feel hard done by.

“It was ob­vi­ously very tough at the time to be left out at that stage of a World Cup,” Marsh said.

“( But) at end of the day if I’m be­ing hon­est it was prob­a­bly the right de­ci­sion to go with Shane with all his ex­pe­ri­ence in one- day cricket.

“I got a medal around my neck and that’s all that mat­tered. I was a part of that 15 just as much as any­one else in that team, or that’s what it felt like.

“I thought the right de­ci­sions were made through­out the World Cup.”

Wat­son may yet get an Ashes medal around his neck, but it is un­likely he will be part of the play­ing XI when the se­ries ends at The Oval in Lon­don next month.

Wat­son has been a firm men­tor for Marsh over the years and the 23- year- old said he finds it hard to fathom the vit­riol that his 34year- old team­mate en­dures.

Marsh found the con­jec­ture over their se­lec­tion bat­tle took its toll even on him.

“It was quite tough to be hon­est be­cause, for me, I’ve just got so much re­spect for Shane and he’s some­one who I re­ally en­joy work­ing with and watch­ing him do what he does,” Marsh said.

“Although some­times he cops a bad rap he’s been a very good player for Aus­tralia over a num­ber of years and to do what he’s done over 60 Tests or how­ever many he has played is a fan­tas­tic ef­fort.

“And he’s al­ways played a part in win­ning teams for Aus­tralia.

‘‘ To be hon­est it was re­ally hard to see the amount that he cops back home.

‘‘ I just want to do well and hope­fully I can keep con­tribut­ing to this team.”

Marsh knows what it is like to fight hard for a place only to lose it, and he’s de­ter- mined not to let it hap­pen again.

Aus­tralia were con­cerned he was strug­gling to find the con­fi­dence to bowl at full pace af­ter tear­ing his ham­string dur­ing the last Test sum­mer, but Marsh is con­fi­dent his work with the ball is slowly catch­ing up with his po­ten­tial with the bat.

“I don’t think it mat­ters who it is, when you come back from in­jury it takes a while,” he said.

“I’ve changed a few things and worked hard with ‘ Billy’ ( bowl­ing coach Craig McDer­mott).

‘‘ It’s great to see those things come off now and hope­fully it can con­tinue.

“I’ve al­ways seen my­self as a bat­ter and my bowl­ing has been a bonus but we know at this level if you want to be play­ing as an all- rounder you need to be pretty equal.

“I’ve said it many times be­fore: ‘ My bowl­ing is some­thing I’m work­ing on and want to keep im­prov­ing’.”

SO STOKED: Mitchell Marsh ( left) cel­e­brates with wick­et­keeper Peter Nevill ( right) af­ter dis­miss­ing Eng­land’s Ben Stokes for 87 on day three of the Test. Pic­ture: AFP

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