The Courier-Mail

Marsh hits out at loose Aussie bats

- BEN HORNE

ROD Marsh has come out in strident defence of his selection panel and insists “deplorable” batting was to blame for Australia’s Ashes disaster and nothing else.

Darren Lehmann has penned an open apology to Australian cricket fans over the meltdown in England. The coach admitted selectors needed to wear some responsibi­lity for the tour spiralling so badly out of control.

Marsh said he was also prepared to cop the criticism, but cannot understand what for.

The national selector said there was no one else the panel could have picked who would have done a better job.

“If you have a look at our first-innings batting, it’s been deplorable, it’s all you can say,” Marsh said. “Guys have let themselves down.

“We’ve got to take some blame (as selectors), but how the hell do you see that? How do you see some of the best batsmen in the world make no runs in the first innings of four Test matches, basically.

“It just staggered me. Our middle order scored no runs and that was the big differenti­al.

“If I had my time again, to sit down and choose the batsmen to come to England, it would have been exactly the same.

“I just couldn’t think of anyone else ( who) could have done the job. You’ve got to be held accountabl­e. Fine, I agree with that.

“But I’m just racking my brain to try to think of who else we could have picked. If you blokes want to come up with some suggestion­s, I can probably explain why we didn’t pick them.

“I’m happy to cop whatever anyone wants to give me because I know in my mind I spent hours and hours and hours watching Sheffield Shield cricket.

“No selection panel can work harder than we worked and we will continue to work.

“There’s not much you can do about it really. We were walloped and it hurts like hell.”

Australia’s batsmen have been called arrogant for their refusal to temper natural aggression in seaming English conditions.

Marsh said it would be a dis- grace if batting coach Michael Di Venuto’s position came under scrutiny and demanded the players look at themselves and become more accountabl­e.

“I think the game of cricket is about being accountabl­e yourself,” Marsh said.

“Everyone says it’s a team game and there’s no doubt about that. But batting in particular, you can be quite selfish as a batsman and still be a helluva good team person.

“Being selfish as a batsman seems to me to be not wanting to get out and wanting to occupy the crease longer than anyone else in your team and those things count in Test match cricket.’’

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