Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 January 21, 2013

Recalled Marsh emerges from 'dark space'


Shaun Marsh has emerged from the "dark space" he inhabited during a nightmarish 2012 to be recalled to the Australian Twenty20 team following his storming Big Bash League.

Starting last year as the No. 3 batsman in the Test side, Marsh was dropped following a dire series against India. His stocks receded further when a poor start to this season with Western Australia was compounded by disciplinary trouble at the Champions League that had him dropped from the Perth Scorchers too.

But the steadying hand of the new WA and Scorchers coach Justin Langer played a part in Marsh regathering his confidence and discipline, and he will now turn out for the national team in Sydney and Melbourne against Sri Lanka after leading the run scorers in the BBL while showing the sort of clean, powerful stroke play that had first won him an international berth.

"It's been a pretty big turnaround," Marsh said in Perth. "A few months ago I wasn't even picked for WA and I was doubting myself and stuff like that. It's just great to play well for the Scorchers, get my name back up there, get the confidence back and I'm really looking forward to playing again and hopefully doing well.

"I was in a pretty dark space there for a few months. It certainly challenges you, but it's made me a stronger person within and it's made me a better person. I've worked really hard with Justin and [fitness trainer] Steve Smith, went away and did some boxing with a mate of mine, trained really hard and made sure I was doing the extra sessions.

"I knew things were going to turn around for me if I kept doing that, and it did. It was nice to contribute to the team again and help the boys win games of cricket."

At 29, Marsh remains a long way from a Test match recall, something he was happy to accept. "It's always a dream to play Test cricket and I've had a taste of it, so one day hopefully," he said. "But I've got to play well for WA, in Shield cricket I think I'm averaging about 10 this year so I want to get back to playing with the boys, get a few big hundreds and push my case. I think that's a long way off at the moment."

John Inverarity, the national selector, indicated that his panel was hopeful that Marsh would use his BBL resurgence as a "stepping stone".

"With Shaun we'll just take one step at a time," Inverarity said. "His form in the BBL has been absolutely compelling. He's batted brilliantly and we all know how well he can play when he's in a good space and he seems to be in a very good space at the moment.

"We've kept a pretty close eye on Shaun and he's in a very good place at the moment. His batting has just been wonderful. We hope this is a stepping stone for other forms."

Adam Voges, Ben Laughlin and James Faulkner were among others rewarded for their domestic efforts with a place in the squad to face Sri Lanka. There was no room for Shane Watson, who may now return from his calf strain via the Sheffield Shield with New South Wales, while Luke Pomersbach was also overlooked despite a BBL contribution every bit as compelling as that of Marsh.

The bowling attack will be led by Mitchell Starc and Ben Cutting, with Laughlin's variations finding a way back into favour after his strong showings for the Hobart Hurricanes. David Hussey, meanwhile, lost his place in the T20 team following only brief appearances for the side in last year's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Inverarity said Pomersbach and Ben Rohrer, both outstanding performers in the BBL for the Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Renegades respectively, had been very close to winning places in the team. "Ben Rohrer played brilliantly with the Melbourne Renegades and was in strong contention for inclusion, as was Luke Pomersbach," he said. "The NSP is pleased to see Luke playing so well and hope his good form continues."

As for Hussey, Inverarity stated that he had been left out for a younger player in Glenn Maxwell, as was the case for much of the World T20. "It was a toss-up in September at the World T20 and Glenn was preferred to David in all games but the semi-final at the end," Inverarity said. "When it's very close we always go for the younger player."

Australia Twenty20 squad: George Bailey (capt), Ben Cutting, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ben Laughlin, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, David Warner

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Garry on January 22, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Great to see Shaun Marsh back in Aussie colours. He needed to pull his head in and hope he can continue to build on this. As he said himself, has some runs to score in FC cricket after this. Glad to see Finch & Laughlin in there too. Generally a good team, still think they could have gone with Pomers or Burns in for Maxwell (Maxwell is still pretty raw and doesn't bowl anyway - suggestions he goes as 2nd spinner to India are ridiculous). Bailey can keep going in ODI but he's not in the top 10 T20 bats in Australia, Rohrer would be my pick for him. If they decided to rest Wade for the first ODI's why pick him in T20? Paine should have maybe come in for him to bring him back into the set up that way. So 9 out of 12 is pretty good! Hopefully Mitch Marsh and Andrew MacDonald can recover from injuries soon, they would be handy at the moment in any format. There isn't much difference between T20 and ODI so if guys do well in T20 they should also be considered for ODI. Tests is another matter

  • Andrew on January 21, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    @jeauxx on (January 21 2013, 13:53 PM GMT) - I agree the "Inverarity" excuse is lame. Marsh has done well, although I would of preferred Pomersbach. As other have said, I certainly hope it doesn't mean a return to the ODI & Test teams anytime soon!

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    part 2.....And what's this reasoning for dropping hussey i'm hearing; "As for Hussey, Inverarity stated that he had been left out for a younger player in Glenn Maxwell, as was the case for much of the World T20. "It was a toss-up in September at the World T20 and Glenn was preferred to David in all games but the semi-final at the end," Inverarity said. "When it's very close we always go for the younger player."What foolishness is that. Hussey axing during the t20 world-cup was a simple selection blunder, both him & maxwell should have been playing if inverarity see's that as just a toss-up between youth and older player - this is extremely troubling. Once more the plans, preparations & squad selection for another world t20 tournament is off to a bad start.

    A proper AUS T20 team once all are fit would be: Watson, Warner, Bailey, Hodge, Hussey, Wade, Maxwell, Henriques, Hogg, Harris, Nannes. back-ups: Marsh/Finch, M Marsh, Johnson, Starc.

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    part 1...On the squad, well i have been resigned to the fact that australia normally pick crap t20s teams & some of the selectors in this squad continues this trend. Laughin took wickets yea, but i can't say i was impressed. Still looks like the same joke quick that was picked to tour s africa in 2009. Why did the selectors feel the need to pick him is my question. Nannes is forever around, johnson, hell even hastings & christian as seam-bowling all-rounders that would give the team more depth, which is a very useful facet in t20s.

    Where is Henriques, team lacking proper all-rounder replacement in watson's absence. Why was Brad Hogg dropped? Wasn't george bailey saying after the t20 world-cup that the team needs a mystery spinner? ( is the closest thing australia have to the ajmal, narine, ashwin, mendis type bowled & yet they pick the dud spinner that pollard killed in the t20 world semi final. its madness

  • Philip on January 21, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    Recent history tells us that dark spaces have been something of a favourite of some young Warriors - the dark spaces of unevenly-lit nightclubs. Wasn't sure before just how much cricket you could learn in good places like that but apparently its quite a lot.

  • Lou on January 21, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Neither Pomers or Marsh should have been considered for Aus representation till next year at the earliest after they have proved that they can behave like adults and properly prioritise their sports careers.

  • david on January 21, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    marsh has played quite well in the big bash.but hes been talked about T20 form. england at the end of any given season bar the last 12 years or so. at the end of an english season when the 50 overs odi final were been played a guy would produce a good innings and his name would go down as a nomination to go on that winters tour. marsh who over the years i have seen a bit of his batting always looked the part but as then i was told his averages below 40 was not good enough. well we have guys who average is mid 30s whos name are been mentioned.

  • Joe on January 21, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    @maf17 - No other possible reason? Have a bit more imagination. How about scoring more runs in less matches? How about averaging more? Marsh averaged 59 with 5 half-centuries to Pomersbach's 44 with 2 half-centuries and a ton.

  • Michael on January 21, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Its as clear as crystal that Pomersbach was left out because Inverarity, a West Australian, wanted to punish him for daring to be successful with another state after WA showed him the door, and for the heinous crime of getting the Heat into the final where they denied a WA team their first silverware in donkey's years. There's simply no other possible reason for Pomersbach to have missed out. Thats the sorry state into which Australia's team selection has descended.

  • Phil on January 21, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    @brendon_edward has stated it well, Marsh deserves his T20 call up as he has been fantastic in the Big Bash but as Marsh said it himself he is averaging 10 in shield this year and was dropped by WA earlier in the season for shield cricket so he is a long way away from test cricket, but lets take it one step at a time. Shield runs are invaluable.