Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 5th day January 28, 2012

Marsh could be sent back to Shield


Shaun Marsh may need time away from the spotlight in the Sheffield Shield to rediscover his game after a dire series against India, his captain Michael Clarke has conceded.

In a 4-0 pounding of India, Marsh's 17 runs in six innings has stood out as the most troubling element of Australia's progress, casting significant doubt on the role Clarke had envisioned for him as the strong, silent type to replace Ricky Ponting at No. 3.

While Marsh has been named in the Twenty20 squad to face India in two matches in Melbourne and Sydney from Wednesday, the national selectors are yet to decide whether he should be included in the team for the triangular ODI series. Clarke left open the possibility that some first-class matches for Western Australia would be an option for the panel.

"It is a tough question. To be honest I don't know the answer. I'm sure Shaun would like some more runs," Clarke said. "His form in one-day cricket and the shorter form has been outstanding for a good period of time whether for WA or Australia or Perth Scorchers. I have always loved the way Shaun has played. He is wonderful talent. I do see him as a big part of the Australian team in all three formats but he certainly needs to keep making runs.

"If he gets the opportunity to play for Australia in the shorter form or if he goes back to WA he just has to keep working hard and puts some runs on the board. He needs to spend time in the middle to build his confidence back up. I am confident he will perform again for Australia."

Apart from Marsh, the opening partnership of David Warner and Ed Cowan shone at times during the four Tests, but also showed plenty of room for improvement, notably against spin in Adelaide. Clarke said the team's success made it possible to keep the current group together for the time being, the next Test assignment a three-match series in the West Indies in April.

"When you're winning it helps keep a team together," Clarke said. "Individually Shaun and Eddie and probably David would have liked a few more runs. There's swings and roundabouts. When you're playing well you need to cash in.

"There's going to come a time when you're not making runs. Ricky Ponting is a great example of that. Now we're saying he's batting as good as he's ever batted. When you're not performing you need to hang in there. I'm confident they can turn it around."

Ponting's strong form, alongside that of Michael Hussey, has encouraged the selectors to look at retaining both for some considerable time, perhaps as far as the 2013 Ashes in England. However Clarke indicated that further discussions of their futures lay ahead, alongside his own place at No. 5.

"That is probably something I have to speak to the selectors and the coach and a couple of the senior players about I guess. We need to do whatever is best for the team," Clarke said. "If that means I stay at five for the rest of my career, then I stay at five. If I have to move, then I move.

"And everybody is the same in the team to be honest. My goal is to pick the best XI for every game we play to help us win that game of cricket, whether that be one-day cricket or Test cricket and whatever that XI is, I have no problems in selecting that if we think it's going to help us win the game.

"So it's not about the individual player, it's about getting an XI we think can win and players doping their job and the same with the batting order, if it means I have to move from number five up the order or go down - whatever it takes to help us win.

"I really like the fact we have a good mix of youth and experience, I think that is really important in the team success throughout the last few months."

At the end of his initial run of 11 Tests as captain, Clarke said he had grown comfortable with his dual role as leader and selector, and said the level of communication between the players and the national panel had been particularly helpful in establishing a team comfortable in its own skin.

"I think it has been good to be able to voice my opinion as part of the selection panel," Clarke said. "You are one of five though, so the selectors, if they disagree, I have only got my one vote. But it is pleasing, more than being a selector, the communication and the relationship with the selectors, captain-coach, has been very pleasing for me.

"I have enjoyed the challenges, I have enjoyed the communication with the selectors and being able to voice my opinion."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    No, Shaun Marsh need not retire. Runs do not matter. He has the support of all his team mates. It wasn't his mistake that he got out so many times cheaply. The bowlers are to blame. He need not play domestic cricket to prove himself. He has the full backing of the selectors and the cricket board and also his father and brother. Only he will decide when he will be dropped from the team.He will stay in the team as long as he wants. Oh sorry, I thought he was one of the Indian players.

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    s marsh is good player but in long version of game i think osman khaja more suitable in place of him........

  • Roo on January 30, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    The selection process has been flawed for many years & the previous selectors put in S Marsh as their defining glory... Other failures include White, Smith & Hughes (last 2 were too young & inexperienced) while good batsmen like Adam Voges & Chris Rogers were piling on the runs... Rogers has been the leading runscorer (combined) in Oz & County for many years... Rogers an opener & Voges no.3-4... Would have fixed most of our batting failures over the last 4 years...

  • Roo on January 30, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    @popcorn... living in dreamland?... Warner 2 tons in 6 (1 in 3) Tests - Watson 2 tons in 32 (1 in 16) Tests says it all... Hayden averaged 1 every 3.4 Tests while Langer was 1 in 4.5 Tests... Watson isn't an opener with an average that ranks him with Haddin - while Wade & Neville are better than both of them & Paine with the bat...

  • Greg on January 30, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    I agree with Lachie. He should be sent to shield cricket before the West Indies Tour. He is a quality batsmen who was rushed by selectors back into the test team. Haddin should do the same

    I think the squad for the West Indies tour should be: Warner Cowan Ponting Clarke Watson Hussey Haddin Harris Siddle Hilfy Lyon with 4 extra squad members being: Marsh, Marsh, Pattinson Wade/Nevill.

  • Andrew on January 30, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    @Jarrad Hoskin, wasn't his ton in a Ryobi match? Anyways, I'm a fan of his, but he has been a major dissappointment IMO. He should be in the ODI side, but I wouldn't select him in the test side until he hits 3 tons in the one season!

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    I like this batting lineup: Watson, Warner, Clarke, Ponting, Hussey, Khawaja, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Hilfenhaus, Lyon. I think that Khawaja will do well at no.6. I see him being someone like Kholi. There will be growing pains, but its important to keep him there because hes the type of player who needs one good score then the flood gates will open. Much like Kholi seems to have done. Warner or Cowan to open, i am not sure. I only said Warner because of age, hes under 25 whereas Cowan is 30.

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    The win speaks itself. he had no words when they lost to NZ in hobert last year before indian series. His level of confidence has gone million miles now. gud luk for fture Mr. Clarke!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    I think they are going back to Khawaja.

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    march should never play test cricket again until he learns to get his average over 37, Im sick of hearing how good his technique is when his average is 37, he's never dominated shield cricket and I think he never will, it's just because of his last name that he's got ahead of other guys!!!!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.