Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 1st day January 24, 2012

Marsh's migraine

A back injury, technical problems and a tendency to have big batting peaks and troughs have all contributed to his Test troubles
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A handful of months ago in Sri Lanka, Shaun Marsh reminded Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke how to bat in a Test match. Calm, judgement, awareness of the off stump, leaving the ball with intent, forcing the bowler to drift straighter in search of wickets, and concentration maintained over a period of hours. Neither Ponting nor Clarke were entirely in command of their games at the time, but Marsh showed them precisely how to do it. His 141 on debut in Kandy was the consummate top order innings, an 81 in his second match in Colombo not far behind. No-one watching from the dressing room or the stands was in any doubt that Australia had found their new No. 3.

Yet here was Marsh in Adelaide, pondering an uncertain future in the players' viewing area as Ponting and Clarke showed him exactly how well they had learned from his example. Marsh had lasted 12 balls for 3, his stay ended when he brought his defensive blade across straight delivery from R Ashwin that went on to flick the off stump. Since returning to the team after a back injury, Marsh has tallied 17 runs in five innings. Among top six Test batsmen to have played at least as many innings in a series, only the teenaged Ken Rutherford's West Indian nightmare of 1985 has been worse. With Shane Watson in the wings, there can now be no guarantee that Marsh will be given the chance to venture to the Caribbean himself. In batting terms, he has a migraine that cannot seem to be shaken.

As Noel Gallagher found himself asking in song after Oasis receded from their peak, Marsh had to ponder the question: where did it all go wrong? Injury had something to do with it, certainly. A back complaint hobbled him when set in the first innings of the incomprehensible Cape Town Test against South Africa, and kept him out of the team until the start of the India series in Melbourne, near enough to two months later. He was kept around the squad as much as possible, in line with the team performance manager Pat Howard's emphasis on the value of proximity and communication, and proved his fitness for Boxing Day by coshing an unbeaten 99 for the Perth Scorchers in the Twenty20 Big Bash League.

While the injury was inconvenient, it could not have ruined Marsh's game so comprehensively as it has appeared during the India Tests. Marsh, it must be said, is used to the rhythms of rehabilitation, having fought a succession of back and hamstring problems dating back to his earliest stints in the Australian limited-overs team. Each time he has resumed and done well enough to keep himself in the selectors' thoughts, while in three summers preceding the winter of 2011 he had compiled enough Sheffield Shield runs to make the Test squad for Sri Lanka. The back complaint did not help Marsh, but its obstacles were not insurmountable.

Among top six Test batsmen to have played at least five innings in a series, only the teenaged Ken Rutherford's West Indian nightmare of 1985 has been worse than Marsh's 17 runs

Technique can also be ruled out as the sole source of Marsh's troubles. His run of dismissals has not resembled that of Phillip Hughes against New Zealand, the monotony being more to do with the slim nature of his scores than the manner of his exits. In Melbourne Marsh was caught at point and bowled off an inside edge, in Sydney he edged a delivery zipping away from him, in Perth he edged one angling across, and Adelaide had him bowled between bat and pad by Ashwin's straight-break. If anything there has been a trace of the tentative about Marsh's approach, a fact acknowledged by Australia's coach Mickey Arthur. But a man once described by a team-mate as "technically the best player in the country" should have more than enough motor resources to keep out an Indian attack more modest than menacing.

The best clues as to why Marsh has proven so unable to match the standards he had set in his first series can arguably be found in his own personal history. Since the start of his time in the first-class game, Marsh has invariably followed feast with famine, or famine with feast. He had gone seven innings with a highest score of 46 before he made a Sheffield Shield 119 against New South Wales that so impressed Steve Waugh. It was another 12 innings, with a highest of 47, before he added a second century. So it has gone for most of Marsh's career since, in a pattern common to many Western Australian batsmen of recent vintage. Marcus North, Adam Voges, Luke Ronchi and Liam Davis, contemporaries all, have uncannily similar knacks for extremes, though they span a broad gamut of character and batting style. Not surprisingly, trophies have eluded them.

Another element to the Marsh conundrum is the self-imposed pressure of scoring runs at home. A century at the height of summer can carry far more perceived weight than a finer one constructed on foreign shores when the nation's minds are occupied by other things. Marsh was watched by his father Geoff in Sri Lanka, but few others. In Australia he has found himself being questioned by a great deal more pairs of eyes, on surfaces that have punished a moment's hesitation against the new ball. There have been other talented batsmen to freeze under this spotlight, Michael Bevan, Greg Blewett and North among them.

Clarke and Ponting also dealt with poor scores and the selectors' wrath during home Tests. Both lost their place (Ponting in 1996 and 1998, Clarke in 2005), and emerged much the stronger for it. They were granted recalls after returning to domestic ranks and clattering plenty of runs, an option open to the selectors if they choose to omit Marsh from the triangular limited-overs series squad that follows two Twenty20 matches in Sydney and Melbourne. Either way, Marsh's place in the Test team is now well and truly out of his hands, and it would take a very generous selection panel indeed to allow him the chance to seek another overseas feast in Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • HatsforBats on January 25, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Attn to the Cricinfo staff; when submitting a comment you indicate that comment will be moderated before publishing, yet you continue to allow comments that racially vilify national communities. I draw your attention to the following comment; Posted by DrMNAhmed on (January 24 2012, 12:36 PM GMT). This is a clear and highly offensive attack on Australian society. This is not the first time I have been forced to call for more vigorous moderation. Again, I wonder if I commented on the digusting nature of the caste system in India which continues to propagate segregation and hatred, would my comment be posted? I doubt it.

  • katandthat3 on January 25, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    @Meety fair call, I'm a fan of Khawaja too and it's been unfortunate he hasn't had a consistent crack at it, one day I hope to see a top 7 of Warner, Khawaja, Cowan, Watson , Clarke, Marsh, Wade. For that to happen, most of them have some work to do. Hughes, Maddinson, Ferguson and others to be there or there abouts. It really couldn't have gone worse for Marsh this series and it gives people plenty of ammunition to his dropped cause and that's the reality of being an international cricketer, runs count, not just talent, I'm still hopeful he can be a valuable and more reliable test player. Records are important but I go by what I see and have seen. Pretty hard to see Punter and Huss moving anytime soon, particularly Punter the way he is hitting them but wanted to see them go out on top in Australia not like how Allan Border did overseas (he deserved to go out in Oz) but you don't always get that chance. Hate to see our older players decay like some of India's have, especially nxt Ashes

  • Meety on January 25, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    @katandthat3 - why give him that leeway & not Khawaja who got 6 disjointed tests? Honestly at no stage has Khawaja looked as likely to get out as Marsh, AND Khawaja has had to bat on tougher pitches (Newlands excepted). The thing is Khawaja has FC stats in the mid 40s & averages a 100 every 8 FC innings, Marsh averages 38 & a ton every 18 innings. I know Marsh has improved, but he really has looked awful in Oz. Maybe save him for the return test series in India, where he knows the pitches (IPL) & has some good form from SL to back it up, but mate I'd rather give Christian a go. In fact I'd rather pick Wade or Neville as specialist batsmen atm! Can't prove it but I reckon had Khawaja had a crack at India on the Adelaide Oval, he would of got a lot more than 3! Don't get me wrong, I want Marsh to do well, as with any player playing for Oz, but I am underwhelmed by him. Never rated him in the first place, was happy to be proven wrong after his first 2 tests, but his ave of 31.1 is spot on

  • katandthat3 on January 25, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Marshy will be right. As Moody said he looks 'lost' at the moment, 4 tests ago he wasn't even in discussions about having his place in doubt after Sri Lanka and Sth Africa. 7 tests isn't exactly a long time and while he'd be pretty disappointed in his returns he's good enough to bounce back, the skills are still there, has to clear the mind and relax. The fact the Aussies are winning means they can give him leeway as pretty much every other player has been given a decent crack. He'll need to get back to Shield once this series is over and score runs and even in the ODI's if he's there. I still think he's a big show to go the WI and not the end of story @Meety thinks it is. He is a great talent but as we all know runs are the currency. I don't necessarily think he has to be No3 either he could bat 5 or 6 as well, he's good enough to be anywhere in the top 6 in the next 6-7 years. A lot of good judges think he is good enough and I agree with them, time will tell, it's up to him.

  • on January 25, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Marsh's character is entirely different from any other Australian player. He is just a duplication of Yuvraj Singh, his former Kings XI teammate (Ask any Yuvraj fan who is your favourite player after Yuvi - The answer surely be either Shaun Marsh/Eoin Morgan). All of them are really gifted stroke players, have abilities to hit a 100m long six to any part of the ground with ease. But their mental abilities are really questionable, thats the reason why they are unable to transfer their limited overs success to Test Cricket. If you can manage their mind set you will be the proudest person in the world, they are such a gifted players.

    I suggest the Aussie selectors to drop Marsh from Tri Series, so that he can get ready for WI tour by playing in Sheffield Shield.

  • pj3000 on January 25, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    Meety (24 Jan 23:36 PM): I agree Khawaja certainly looks like the more natural No.3 in the long term. I'd like to think S Marsh still has a lot to offer at maybe Nos.5 or 6 in post-Ponting/M Hussey era.

  • jmcilhinney on January 25, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    I agree with many that Watson should come into the side for Marsh but I'm not sure that will happen. Everyone seemed adamant that Watson was opening and that's that so I'm not sure that they'll put him at #3. If they do want him to open then that means Cowan or Warner at #3, which I don't see either. If they want to keep Cowan and Warner at the top then Watson will likely slot in lower down, which means moving Ponting back up to #3. Now that he's back in form I don't see an issue with that, but it's obviously not the selectors long-term desire.

  • on January 25, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    The people who criticise Shaun Marsh for an average first class record, then suggest Callum Ferguson in the same breath is crazy. If you compare their records they both average in the mid thirties and have either 6 or 7 first class centuries to their name. You can't blast Marsh for being 'average' then suggest a similar type of player.

  • rienzied on January 25, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    While I personally would like Shaun to play, however, now witht he Indian meak and mild attack playing our batsmen into form , the confidence is sky high, and there are plenty of batsman to come in and replace him, Watson, Chrisitian, North, Davis, Voges, Klinger and it is great that the players are fighting to hold on their spots, as competition will lead to better results in the long run

  • on January 25, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    I'm a supporter of Marsh, and having seen him bat a number of times know the quality of cricket he can play. But fine players, like Ponting and Clarke have been dropped, and each emerged the stronger for it. Marsh needs to return to Shield cricket, and ultimately if he's good enough he'll make the runs needed to demand a recall. Meanwhile, the calls for Hughes and Khawaja are more than just a little sad. Both had extended runs in the Australian side, and both were found lacking technically.

  • HatsforBats on January 25, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Attn to the Cricinfo staff; when submitting a comment you indicate that comment will be moderated before publishing, yet you continue to allow comments that racially vilify national communities. I draw your attention to the following comment; Posted by DrMNAhmed on (January 24 2012, 12:36 PM GMT). This is a clear and highly offensive attack on Australian society. This is not the first time I have been forced to call for more vigorous moderation. Again, I wonder if I commented on the digusting nature of the caste system in India which continues to propagate segregation and hatred, would my comment be posted? I doubt it.

  • katandthat3 on January 25, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    @Meety fair call, I'm a fan of Khawaja too and it's been unfortunate he hasn't had a consistent crack at it, one day I hope to see a top 7 of Warner, Khawaja, Cowan, Watson , Clarke, Marsh, Wade. For that to happen, most of them have some work to do. Hughes, Maddinson, Ferguson and others to be there or there abouts. It really couldn't have gone worse for Marsh this series and it gives people plenty of ammunition to his dropped cause and that's the reality of being an international cricketer, runs count, not just talent, I'm still hopeful he can be a valuable and more reliable test player. Records are important but I go by what I see and have seen. Pretty hard to see Punter and Huss moving anytime soon, particularly Punter the way he is hitting them but wanted to see them go out on top in Australia not like how Allan Border did overseas (he deserved to go out in Oz) but you don't always get that chance. Hate to see our older players decay like some of India's have, especially nxt Ashes

  • Meety on January 25, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    @katandthat3 - why give him that leeway & not Khawaja who got 6 disjointed tests? Honestly at no stage has Khawaja looked as likely to get out as Marsh, AND Khawaja has had to bat on tougher pitches (Newlands excepted). The thing is Khawaja has FC stats in the mid 40s & averages a 100 every 8 FC innings, Marsh averages 38 & a ton every 18 innings. I know Marsh has improved, but he really has looked awful in Oz. Maybe save him for the return test series in India, where he knows the pitches (IPL) & has some good form from SL to back it up, but mate I'd rather give Christian a go. In fact I'd rather pick Wade or Neville as specialist batsmen atm! Can't prove it but I reckon had Khawaja had a crack at India on the Adelaide Oval, he would of got a lot more than 3! Don't get me wrong, I want Marsh to do well, as with any player playing for Oz, but I am underwhelmed by him. Never rated him in the first place, was happy to be proven wrong after his first 2 tests, but his ave of 31.1 is spot on

  • katandthat3 on January 25, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Marshy will be right. As Moody said he looks 'lost' at the moment, 4 tests ago he wasn't even in discussions about having his place in doubt after Sri Lanka and Sth Africa. 7 tests isn't exactly a long time and while he'd be pretty disappointed in his returns he's good enough to bounce back, the skills are still there, has to clear the mind and relax. The fact the Aussies are winning means they can give him leeway as pretty much every other player has been given a decent crack. He'll need to get back to Shield once this series is over and score runs and even in the ODI's if he's there. I still think he's a big show to go the WI and not the end of story @Meety thinks it is. He is a great talent but as we all know runs are the currency. I don't necessarily think he has to be No3 either he could bat 5 or 6 as well, he's good enough to be anywhere in the top 6 in the next 6-7 years. A lot of good judges think he is good enough and I agree with them, time will tell, it's up to him.

  • on January 25, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Marsh's character is entirely different from any other Australian player. He is just a duplication of Yuvraj Singh, his former Kings XI teammate (Ask any Yuvraj fan who is your favourite player after Yuvi - The answer surely be either Shaun Marsh/Eoin Morgan). All of them are really gifted stroke players, have abilities to hit a 100m long six to any part of the ground with ease. But their mental abilities are really questionable, thats the reason why they are unable to transfer their limited overs success to Test Cricket. If you can manage their mind set you will be the proudest person in the world, they are such a gifted players.

    I suggest the Aussie selectors to drop Marsh from Tri Series, so that he can get ready for WI tour by playing in Sheffield Shield.

  • pj3000 on January 25, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    Meety (24 Jan 23:36 PM): I agree Khawaja certainly looks like the more natural No.3 in the long term. I'd like to think S Marsh still has a lot to offer at maybe Nos.5 or 6 in post-Ponting/M Hussey era.

  • jmcilhinney on January 25, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    I agree with many that Watson should come into the side for Marsh but I'm not sure that will happen. Everyone seemed adamant that Watson was opening and that's that so I'm not sure that they'll put him at #3. If they do want him to open then that means Cowan or Warner at #3, which I don't see either. If they want to keep Cowan and Warner at the top then Watson will likely slot in lower down, which means moving Ponting back up to #3. Now that he's back in form I don't see an issue with that, but it's obviously not the selectors long-term desire.

  • on January 25, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    The people who criticise Shaun Marsh for an average first class record, then suggest Callum Ferguson in the same breath is crazy. If you compare their records they both average in the mid thirties and have either 6 or 7 first class centuries to their name. You can't blast Marsh for being 'average' then suggest a similar type of player.

  • rienzied on January 25, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    While I personally would like Shaun to play, however, now witht he Indian meak and mild attack playing our batsmen into form , the confidence is sky high, and there are plenty of batsman to come in and replace him, Watson, Chrisitian, North, Davis, Voges, Klinger and it is great that the players are fighting to hold on their spots, as competition will lead to better results in the long run

  • on January 25, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    I'm a supporter of Marsh, and having seen him bat a number of times know the quality of cricket he can play. But fine players, like Ponting and Clarke have been dropped, and each emerged the stronger for it. Marsh needs to return to Shield cricket, and ultimately if he's good enough he'll make the runs needed to demand a recall. Meanwhile, the calls for Hughes and Khawaja are more than just a little sad. Both had extended runs in the Australian side, and both were found lacking technically.

  • on January 25, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    I quite like Marsh, he has talent, just in a form slump, but who doesn't go through one? Look at what some of of our other players have done. Ponting 32 innings without a centry, Clarke wasn't making runs, Hughes sucks, Watson had been quiet before he was injured, Warnsr is hit and miss.

    I don't really like Khawaja he has been given many chances, and has yet to impress me. He has never looked settled at the crease in a test match.

  • Harry_Kool on January 24, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    @Ahamed Afker. Well stated. ANY, repeat, any series in SL is a tough ask for visitors. Even when we won 3-0 in 04, it was a tough, close well fought series. The scoreline didn't reflect the closeness of the sides. Marsh, as opposed to the current series, was prepared, had a few f/c games under his belt and mentally ready, something that can' t be argued in his favour this time round.

  • Meety on January 24, 2012, 23:36 GMT

    Marsh has to go. Watto in as his replacement. Khawaja is the next batsmen to come in. Marsh needs to go back to Shield/FC cricket & score bucket loads of runs, he has had 7 tests to prove himself & he has gone backwards, IMO he looks more likely to get out than Hughes! Khawaja should of played at Adelaide, although, given we have Harris in the side & it is Adelaide, maybe Christian would of been a good choice as well. Marsh SHOULD NOT tour the WIndies in the test team. I'm happy for him to play T20s for Oz but NOT Tests & ODIs, we have better players than him. End of Story!

  • on January 24, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    Marsh is no good, since when has T20 performances become the benchmark for a test place?? Yes hi did score a century in Sri Lanka, but what then? He's been horrible since. Give him a break and get Khawaja or Huges in.

  • Patchmaster on January 24, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    If you were picking guys on merit, form and reliability and skill, then why would you look past Katich ?

  • Chris_Howard on January 24, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    I'm sure it didn't help that in his absence while our batting struggled, he was continually talked up as being the saviour returned. With all that pressure, you get a failure in the first game and it all starts to compound. And not having any long form cricket to come back thru didn't help either. Shane Watson will face a similar problem and pressure. Everyone expects that he will just step back into the team and pick up where he left off. At least he won't have the added pressure of having to carry the batting. The pressure of expectation is a tough gig, but, that's their job, so they'e gotta find a way around it.

  • on January 24, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    @jkaussie - if you can't see the difference to a player trying to justify his selection such as Marsh or Khawaja coming in, time and time again, ahead of the in-form senior players at 20-1 with the ball less than ten overs old as opposed to an entry at 228-3 after 50 overs, if you can't see the difference it would make to a player such as Cowan, Warner or Hughes after the early loss of their opening partner to see their in-form captain confidently striding out instead of a wobbly and under threat Marsh or Khawaja, then I can understand you calling Ian Chappell and others misguided when they call for Clarke to move up to three. Furthermore, if you'd take a look at history you'd see that the really successful teams have had strong number threes such as Ponting, Dravid, Trott, Richards, Chappell etc. This is WHY, for the good of Australia, Clarke should move up instead of subjecting relative newcomers to the most difficult batting position there is in cricket.

  • Harry_Kool on January 24, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    I am reluctant to join any public execution of any players. This case, however, is a prime example of why T20 or ODi is not a good indicator for test readiness. Marsh was on a hiding to nothing and unfortunately for him, he has probably lost any ground or credits he had in the bank. He does have a solid technique, he has turned round his earlier career form in the past few years, but he is currently struggling big time in first class matches. He has been given a great run, none of the batting strips have been as demanding as either Brisbane or Hobart where Khawaja aquitted himself well enough to suggest better days on better pitches. Well Invers? Time to walk the talk. Tough decisions need to be continued in the manner already been set.

  • bingohaley on January 24, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    Wow, you must be in wretched form if you consistently fail to get a big 'un against this weak Indian team.

  • Imad_K on January 24, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    Completely agreed with cricpolitics. Why didn't Australia give Khawaja a chance against such a weak bowling attack. He would have most definitely cemented his place in the Australian side. Yup this Aussie team must be one of the weakest both in the bowling and batting departments for a long time. Bowling - fair enough their main bowlers are injured but they shouldn't think that the current bowlers who have managed to get the Indian batsmen out who can't bat on these tracks have all of sudden become the next Wasim Akram or Brett Lee. The test of their bowling will be against better opposition like SA/Eng. Likewise, their batting has about 2/3 reliable batsmen and considering that many of the Aussie batsmen are struggling against such a weak bowling attack how would they fair against better opposition? Is Warner just a slightly better version of Sehwag or will he score runs against SA/Eng?

  • crh8971 on January 24, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    I also think that no player that misses four tests or more through injury should be considered an incumbant and therefore come straight back into the test team without playing meaningful cricket. This means the selectors should tell Shane Watson that he should play at leastt a couple of Shield games in preference to the ODI's to be a starter on the WI tour.

  • tanveers on January 24, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    S. Marsh should have not been an automatic choice for a #3 slot. Yes, he did well in SL but since this was a home series I believe Khawaja should've been given 2 test to play and besides Khawaja did not score a Test ton but he has shown enough talent and flair and has the Test #3 qualities. Khawaja must be given a long run so he can settle and perform. On the other hand we have Watson, but since he is an all rounder maybe he can play as a 4th fast bowler and bat in the middle order.

  • crh8971 on January 24, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    Let's all brace for another series of media comments from those in or close to the team about how he working as hard as anyone, hitting them wel in the nets, brings more to the team than just his batting and that they back him to turn it around. In fact I am pretty sure I heard Justin Langer start the process on the radio yeterday. I would also expectto hear Kerry O'Keefe suggest two or three potential replacements on the radio, all of them being from NSW. There is no doubt that the only reason Marsh is still in the team is that Cricket Australia scheduled no first class cricket for pretty much all the test season meaning that no other batsmen are out there pushing their claims forward. I agree with those that suggest that there is nothing in his first class record to suggest that he has what it takes. In a decent team an average of 37 for a top order batsmen might be under pressure to hold his place. Furthermore he only makes a score of 50 or more 1 in 4 innings.

  • BillyCC on January 24, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    Marsh to go simply because he doesn't add anything to the team, in terms of form, entertainment value, class, fielding, extra bowling option. He is a pain to watch and excites the opposition when he comes in to bat: a terrible quality for a No.3 in Test cricket. Clarke to move to No.3, Ponting to remain at No.4 and Watson and Hussey in the lower order. When Ponting and Hussey retire, then Marsh can be a contender for those lower order spots.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on January 24, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    I like Shaun Marsh but even he would admit his form has been disastrous in this series and he should be dropped. Fair enough. Khawaja was dropped because he had starts and couldnt go on with it and needs to learn a lesson. I think it was always expected he would come back into the team in the future. Watson will obviously come back into the top 6 first but even he isnt fully proven ....not enough centuries. In fact with Ponting & Hussey going some time in the short to medium term Australia have one established player (CLARKE) in the top 6 pencilled in for the First Test of the 2013 Ashes. Every other place is up for grabs and a whole bunch of batsmen need to make their move.

  • BlueyCollar on January 24, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    I think the consenses here is Kawahja at 3 for the West Indies. I tend to agree but Marsh should play every shield game for the balance of the season before a decision is made. Don't play Marsh in the coming international one dayers he needs long stints at the crease for WA to recapture his form. If he averages 50+ take both to the Carrabean

  • r1m2 on January 24, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    Shaun Marsh's first class records give no indication as to why he should play international cricket for Australia. So, a fluke debut century should not sway people's minds as Australian fc games to me provide a fair indication of the success at international level. In fact, imo the Sri Lankan national team isn't strong enough to win the Australian fc tournament, so doing well against them on flat pitches should not have caused the so called "experts" to trip over this fella. But these so called "experts" are wrong more often than not, and yet they make the headlines. According to those "experts" Khawaja is flat footed so he's not good enough for International and yet he's boasted better fc records (compared to Marsh) i.e. against better teams than the SL national team.

  • on January 24, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Usman khwaja is a league ahead of marsh in terms of technique stability temperament average and everything and also bad luck cos usman has faced the worse batting conditions and still managed to survive short useful knocks and helped ponting to win against SA still marsh is everybody s favourite coach selectors and most importantly the captain i don think old guns will always fire big and overshadow the lean patches of top order soon they have to revert back to khwaja the sooner they do the better for the future of Aus.

  • hhillbumper on January 24, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Jonesey 2.I finally get it you are being ironic.God help you if you aren't.Lots of runs? He must be poor he is even making Sehwag look classy

  • on January 24, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Khawaja should be selected for WI in place of Marsh and if the selectors want to stick with someone at no.3 it should be him as he is the future unlike the almost 29 Marsh..also we should start preparing our next level of batsmen as when I look at the Sheffield Shield I d not find many who can get into the big boots of Punter and Huss...Ferguson maybe, Maddison in some years..but there is absoultely noone else and that has made the stay of Marsh possible even though Lyon has outscired him...He should be immediately dropped as consistency has neer been his forte..it would be sad if he goes to WI jsut bcoz his last name and his relnship wit Arthur

  • captian_buddy on January 24, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    Why not tom cooper? he is a good batsman and on top of that , is in-form

  • Mary_786 on January 24, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    Jonesy2 you are kidding mate, Marsh's true class is showing now and for you to back him after 4 failed tests on easy tracks such as Sydney and Adelaide shows your biasness for the chosen son of WA.

  • Mary_786 on January 24, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    Makes no sense why Khawaja was dropped, its time get Khawaja back into the team, he is not injury prone, has a much higher shield average and is much better long term prospect. If Khawaja had the whole indian series to play in, he would have established himself as the new number 3 for Australia.

  • on January 24, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    @Barnesy4444. "He (Shaun) made two good scores in his first two tests against lowly Sri Lanka" that means SL is lowly team?...Then what about IND team who lost 7 consecutive matches in overseas?...(4 of them were innings defeats).But SL had a much better record in last ENG and SA tour. Out of 6 SL won 1 and lost 3 and 2 draws.It is much better than 0-7 results.SL or PAK can call IND as a lowly team but not IND for sure at this moment.May be second white wash on the way.

  • maliee on January 24, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    The only reason Khwaja is not playing is because he has no dad by name of G.Marsh. So unfair.

  • AidanFX on January 24, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Marsh is the only recognized batsman not to get runs - Haddin excepted but his primary role is keeping - not that he has done too well at that either; The Aussie team is close to forming a powerful team - they need Marsh to go.

  • cricpolitics on January 24, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    Khawaja has a much better record and looks solid technically. It is unfortunate that Khawaja has not been given an equally longer run as Shaun and Philip Hughes have been given. There is certainly something fishy going on in the Australian selection policies. One last thing, Australia should not consider their current performances against India be the harbinger that they have come back to their golden days. This team is still to be tested against stronger oppositions and outside Australia.

  • Barnesy4444 on January 24, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    7 first class centuries in 11 seasons, this is not up to standard. He made two good scores in his first two tests against lowly Sri Lanka, and that's all. That dismissal today would be terrible for a number 11. I would like to see Clarke at 3 or 4 with Watson at 5, but Watson will probably simply replace Marsh at 3.

  • spiriteddisplay on January 24, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    Usman Khawaja has a better technicque and temperment than Shaun March, is he the selector's favourite????, surely he should have been kicked out from the 3rd test match with the kind of performance. With 17 runs in 4 test matches is surely by all means a pathetic performance. Khawaja should have been given another opportunity as he is surely far better than Marsh and he would have played better against India. Well seems there is no selection criteria with the Australian Selectors.!!!!

  • ozwriter on January 24, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    nepotism, parochialism etc all in play here. its shocking that because he's western australian and his name is marsh and mickey arthur likes him, he gets a free run. lets look back at his only 2 big scores....on a dead sri lankan pitch, where his slow scoring probably cost the australia the match (drawn test). versus the pitch khawaja played in which was sited by ICC but australia actually one. look at the bigger picture people.

  • warneythebest on January 24, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    usman khawaja deserves another chance. his technique seems to be okay...he had starts in his innings in SL and against NZ... so he should be given run at it.... shaun should be dropped for the carribean tour...it might be a good wake up call!!!!

  • popcorn on January 24, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    The Argus Review is very clear on non -performers. Shaun Marsh will be dropped for the Tour to the West Indies. Ed cowan and David Warner will open, Shane watson at 3, Ponting at 4, Clarke at 5, Huss at 6,Haddin at 7.

  • voyager on January 24, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Don't understand why Khwaja is dropped after alright performance with couple of valuable innings especially in the tricky 4th inings run chase against SA.

  • sabee66 on January 24, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Why aren'khuwaja getting thst many chances?his name should be ussie smith.....lol kidding aussies r the honest in evedy game

  • Nightwing32 on January 24, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Marsh is a good player, he just needs to find his groove. Form changes like that, so maybe he gets 100's in the ODI. Who knows but I would stick with him because he is a future player like Warner at the moment. Wade and Khawaja should be coming in soon alongside Christian knowing how injury prone Watson is. I hate how people assume that form = skill.

  • DrMNAhmed on January 24, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    I fail to understand why Khawaja is not selected to play despite constant failures of Shaun Marsh. Is it because he is a native Australian, caucasian and son of Geoff Marsh and Khawaja is an immigrant from a third World country? C'mon Australia, your tribual society and closed collective community mind-set is well-known to everybody. Inclusions of Symmonds and Khawaha showed some signs the Aussie thinking was changing, but this Shaun Marsh fiasco has pushed them back into their same old reputation. The method is simple: 'you dont make things easier for 'your own kind', you simply make things harder for 'the other ones'. Clearly Marsh has to perform very ordinary to be dropped, Khawaja has to do really well just to stay in the side......simply disgraceful.

  • jkaussie on January 24, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Those calling for Clarke to bat at 3 are misguided. There is no logical reason or rule that states your captain must bat at at 3 and therefore "lead by example". What a load of drivel - Clarke's best from has been at 5, it's where his method is best suited and where he has done stirling work for his side. As for Marsh, a poor run of form should mean he misses a tour to the WI, replaced by Watson with Christian or Khawaja as the extra bat. Watson is more than capable of batting at 3, especially as his bowling workload will not be as high due to the form of the current pace squad and Clarke's shrewd management of them.

  • Clyde on January 24, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    I would prefer 'clattering' to be rendered as 'scoring' where the ball does not land on a tin roof or similar.

  • gogoldengreens on January 24, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Look at his long term first class record 7 first class hundreds since year 2000 average of 38 - very poor record indeed - only thing I can think of makes easy choice of where to slot Watson when he comes back...

  • jonesy2 on January 24, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    best number 3 in the world still be a mile and one of the best batsmen in the world. once he gets his back right he will be scoring the huge runs that he has been doing for so many years.

  • AliYasir on January 24, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    I dont get Logic of Aussie Selectors , they are repeating same mistake by giving shawn marsh chances like they did with Phil Hughes , we all can see he's strugling in making runs , take him off from international arena and bring back Usman Khawaja (Best young No.3) in the country at the moment , Bcoz of him we manage to draw series in south africa and his 4th innings of 65 was the turning point of that Johanesberg test , He had shown such a mature approach and tough mentality in his batting , Dont understand why he is out of the team ??

  • BeyondPerception on January 24, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    Everyone who is bad-mouthing Marsh has clearly never played an elite form of cricket in their life. Everybody goes through a rough patch, only last year there was call for Ponting to get the sack. But Marsh has had an unlucky run, and should take a step back and get himself together before attempting to push for test selection again. Oh, and to those who feel Khawaja should get a recall, he has failed to produce too many times, the same goes for Hughes, although he has more potential than both Marsh and Khawaja. Bring on Watson and his band of merry men.

  • unregisteredalien on January 24, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    I believe the selectors know exactly what they are doing with both Marsh and Haddin. They are giving both players a reasonable run and enough time to play themselves back into form, or alternatively enough time to prove to the selectors and general public that they won't. With both players failing consistently, they can now be sensibly and justifiably dropped for the next series and probably beyond - see the case of Cameron White. Nothing major is at stake with the India series already won and it's a bonus that other players are picking up the slack anyway. There is an underlying intelligence to selection now, which is such a blessed relief after the infuriating 'methods' of the previous panel.

  • stormy16 on January 24, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Marsh was rushed in too soon after injury on T20 form and more importatnly ignored that Kawaja had shown enough to warrant keeping his spot. Its going to be the hard way back for Marsh I am afraid as surely he would be dropped and with Watson a certainty to come back, Marsh would be behind Cowan and Kawaja for the #3 spot. Real shame to see a young plater miss out but its not meant to be easy.

  • on January 24, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    How exciting is the rest of the Shield Comp going to be. yep marsh is in trouble although i wouldnt write him off in the future. but guys like maddinson, khawaja and also Lynn and Burns from Qld are youngsters with extreme talent although Lynn hasnt been in the best form coming back from injury this season. I also think Haddin will be looking over his shoulder with Wade, Nevill breathing down his neck to be the aussie keeper. Apparently Tim Paine wont be back as a keeper due to a serious finger injury. Our fast bowling is top rate. Would like to see more spinners doing well. Hopefully Boyce from Qld can continue to improve along with O'keefe. Would love to see Mitch Marsh start making some big scores in shield cricket now.

  • JesseV on January 24, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    F man! People are so fickle. Marsh has not scored runs but I hope he gets runs in either ODI or Shield cricket. He has the talent to score lots of runs like he has shown! Idk how people see Usman Khawaja as the better option. He needs Shield runs when it resumes because he was very underwhelming in his first lot of tests.

  • righthandbat on January 24, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    Marsh -> Watson is an easy trade to make at this stage. Watson would make a decent number 3 (I'd prefer him at 4, but Ponting seems to have nailed that spot now).

    When it is time for Hussey to go, Khawaja can take over at number six.

  • AidanFX on January 24, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    The author of this article rips into Hughes and his technique - yet @ 23 (even long before he turned this age) Hughes has a achieved more than Marsh at first Class cricket - actually in fact he has 3 Test centuries - two more than Marsh. Hughes was put on unnecessary pressure after the first test against NZ and then was thrown away after the second Test when he failed again - meanwhile Marsh's scores are far worse than Khawaja and Marsh over four tests (5 inns) and his has failed every inns thus far. The selectors need to be consistent - where is this rotation policy? Surely this is his last chance? Hughes problem was surely largely mental given the ridiculous amount of pressure he was put under; that and his technique was fine before it was meddled with by the Aus coaching staff. Anyway Ferguson, Khawaja deserve to be in line for call up - Hughes can get his form back in Eng First class cricket.

  • ravi_hari on January 24, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    With the kind of scores in this series all the comments are valid for Marsh. I am sure he will be kicking himself for flopping like this. I am sure he would find it difficult to face his captain and coach who had reposed so much confidence in him. I think the problem for Marsh is his confidence. He came into the first test with over confidence and after 2 innings is low on confidence. Instead of doing a Ponting or Hussey he chose to be a Hughes. There is no doubt he is the best talent for all three formats. He has proved it a few times too. However, his inconsistency is his bane. It is not that he takes his place for granted, he does not motivate himself to perform. Just be there for 30 mins. you will get back all you have. Look at how Ponting did it or how Kohli did it in Perth. It is all about sticking around and knowing where your Off stump is. Cowan for that matter seems very focussed and definitely will play for atleast 2 years at that position. Marsh - make way for Watson.

  • AidanFX on January 24, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    Learned from his example? What Nonsense - Only 1 Int hundred - those guys have both had multiple hundred through their careers.

  • on January 24, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    Sorry Shaun,I can't help but believe Shane Watson on his return is gonna be the answer at 3,Khawaja just ain't got either

  • on January 24, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    I wonder if Marsh would have been given as long a run in the team if there had been any potential replacements around with plausible recent form under their belts, that is, form from a Shield game.

  • rahulcricket007 on January 24, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    FEEL SORRY FOR SHAUN MARSH , BUT IF YOU CAN'T MAKE RUNS AGAINST THIS CLUB LEVEL ATTACK THEN GOD SAVES YOU AGAINST QUALITY BOWLING SIDES LIKE SA , PAK , ENG .

  • on January 24, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Marsh's first class recod is ordinary and his two significant Test knocks were against a moderate SL attack. Today's dismissal would have embarrassed Chris Martin.

  • on January 24, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Michael Clarke certainly has a share in this. As captain, as one of two senior batsmen and as a player in form, he should be prepared to bat where the team has the greatest need of him instead of persisting in the easy #5 spot . In other words, his recent successes have been bought at the expense of others which is not in the best long-term interests of Australia.

  • HatsforBats on January 24, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    The only good thing about the BBL is that by stalling the Shield season Marsh will have an opportunity to score runs before the WI tour. Though it appears many of our fears have been founded; Marsh is inconsistent and injury-prone. In flight he is a beautiful batsmen to watch, sadly he is a talent too mercurial for the test side.

  • Rustycarina on January 24, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    How much of a dud is Marsh. Usman must be wondering what he did so wrong. I suspect his numbers for this summer make for far better reading than those of the incumbent no.3 Nepotism strikes again. Brought in with no form to speak of. But alas I guess he is one of "the chosen". Has an appalling first.class average ten or so less than Usman and six years older

  • TheLoneStranger on January 24, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    Marsh has a first-class average of 37 and he's at least 28. He fluked his good form overseas, and has been carried for at least one too many tests here. Katich or Khawaja should have replaced him. These selectors just won't learn, will they? Haddin should have been rissoled as well; his keeping and batting have fallen right away. But I suppose the selectors are caught in the headlights here, as well. Here's hoping we can do enough to at least draw this match and win the series 3-nil.

  • wix99 on January 24, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Usman Khawaja deserves another chance. In the Test matches he has played so far he has demonstrated good technique and temperament. He might have failed to make a century, but a little time out of the team will make him eager to prove himself on return.

  • dsig3 on January 24, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    He is finished. He is playing to his potential, this is not form, this is how he has played domestically. All the talent in the world but just doesnt have the mental strength for the game. Let him play the limited over silly stuff, but it lowers Australia's standards for Shaun Marsh to wear the baggy green.

  • VivGilchrist on January 24, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    The selectors still have not learnt that persisting with an out of form batsman can destroy there confidence more than build it up - think Hughes and North. It's obvious though that Marsh is one of Arthurs favorites. What Australia has missed here is the opportunity to see Khawaja play against India, or if they had gone with Christian, if they had a world class back up for Shane Watson.

  • takenaback on January 24, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    I can't believe they actually went with him in this test. He looks absolutely terrible and doesn't look like scoring a run. If Australia hadn't been winning I suspect he wouldn't have had another chance, I also suspect that if his surname wasn't Marsh he would have been kicked to the curb before Adelaide.

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  • takenaback on January 24, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    I can't believe they actually went with him in this test. He looks absolutely terrible and doesn't look like scoring a run. If Australia hadn't been winning I suspect he wouldn't have had another chance, I also suspect that if his surname wasn't Marsh he would have been kicked to the curb before Adelaide.

  • VivGilchrist on January 24, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    The selectors still have not learnt that persisting with an out of form batsman can destroy there confidence more than build it up - think Hughes and North. It's obvious though that Marsh is one of Arthurs favorites. What Australia has missed here is the opportunity to see Khawaja play against India, or if they had gone with Christian, if they had a world class back up for Shane Watson.

  • dsig3 on January 24, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    He is finished. He is playing to his potential, this is not form, this is how he has played domestically. All the talent in the world but just doesnt have the mental strength for the game. Let him play the limited over silly stuff, but it lowers Australia's standards for Shaun Marsh to wear the baggy green.

  • wix99 on January 24, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    Usman Khawaja deserves another chance. In the Test matches he has played so far he has demonstrated good technique and temperament. He might have failed to make a century, but a little time out of the team will make him eager to prove himself on return.

  • TheLoneStranger on January 24, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    Marsh has a first-class average of 37 and he's at least 28. He fluked his good form overseas, and has been carried for at least one too many tests here. Katich or Khawaja should have replaced him. These selectors just won't learn, will they? Haddin should have been rissoled as well; his keeping and batting have fallen right away. But I suppose the selectors are caught in the headlights here, as well. Here's hoping we can do enough to at least draw this match and win the series 3-nil.

  • Rustycarina on January 24, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    How much of a dud is Marsh. Usman must be wondering what he did so wrong. I suspect his numbers for this summer make for far better reading than those of the incumbent no.3 Nepotism strikes again. Brought in with no form to speak of. But alas I guess he is one of "the chosen". Has an appalling first.class average ten or so less than Usman and six years older

  • HatsforBats on January 24, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    The only good thing about the BBL is that by stalling the Shield season Marsh will have an opportunity to score runs before the WI tour. Though it appears many of our fears have been founded; Marsh is inconsistent and injury-prone. In flight he is a beautiful batsmen to watch, sadly he is a talent too mercurial for the test side.

  • on January 24, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Michael Clarke certainly has a share in this. As captain, as one of two senior batsmen and as a player in form, he should be prepared to bat where the team has the greatest need of him instead of persisting in the easy #5 spot . In other words, his recent successes have been bought at the expense of others which is not in the best long-term interests of Australia.

  • on January 24, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    Marsh's first class recod is ordinary and his two significant Test knocks were against a moderate SL attack. Today's dismissal would have embarrassed Chris Martin.

  • rahulcricket007 on January 24, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    FEEL SORRY FOR SHAUN MARSH , BUT IF YOU CAN'T MAKE RUNS AGAINST THIS CLUB LEVEL ATTACK THEN GOD SAVES YOU AGAINST QUALITY BOWLING SIDES LIKE SA , PAK , ENG .