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May 3, 2013
Mitchell Marsh is adamant he has learned from his disciplinary troubles at the Centre of Excellence and the Champions League in South Africa last year, even if he remains equally sure they were "blown out of proportion".
Sent home from Cricket Australia's academy in Brisbane for turning up to training "in an unfit state" then one of several players dropped from the Perth Scorchers' team at the CLT20 after his 21st birthday celebrations slipped out of control, Marsh spent much of the summer pondering his priorities due to a serious hamstring injury. He returned with runs and wickets for the Warriors late in the season, and has now earned an ODI place with Australia in the Champions Trophy.
After returning home to Perth from the CoE in July, Marsh had been somewhat indignant about his treatment, saying he had worked extremely hard between his lapses. Ten months and a few more misadventures on from that episode, he retained a sense that the scrutiny of his behaviour had been excessive.
"Those things have happened and I learned from my mistakes," Marsh said from India. "Although I felt that both incidents were blown out of proportion I took them on the chin and took full responsibility for them. I haven't changed the way I am around people, I just need to make better decisions at the right times.
"The Australian cricket side sets extremely high standards. I really think over the last six months I've pulled my head in and started making good decisions. On the cricket side of things like any batsman or bowler my only currency is wickets and runs, so it's a matter of putting runs on the board and taking wickets."
So far, Marsh's combination of wayward behaviour and big hitting has made him seem a young man destined for a lucrative limited-overs career - his attempts at becoming a first-class batsman have so far reaped a meagre 915 runs at 21.27 in 25 matches. But amid the buzz of this year's IPL, Marsh said his ODI recall was merely a step on the road to the Test batting place he desires most.
"The biggest thing for me is I've always grown up wanting to play Test cricket. That's all I want to do, it's the hardest format and the pinnacle of our game," Marsh said. "So for me being in the IPL at such a young age was a bonus for international experience. Playing over here is great fun, but it's also good for my cricket.
"Although I've been more consistent in the shorter formats, they're a bonus for me and I'm hoping that over this winter I can improve again and become better at the longer format. Because if that's not my goal then I'm probably not in the right sport.
"Growing up I've always been a batsman and batted in the top five. With my bowling it's only really come up in the last couple of years. I've still got the goal that I want to be a top-order batsman and hopefully be able to do a job with the ball. But I've got a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead."
The call to travel to England was a just reward for Marsh's most consistent format, as his 50-over efforts have outshone even the T20 hitting that has made him a valuable commodity well in advance of his maturation as a player of Test match capabilities. But he spoke earnestly of his intent to develop in the Sheffield Shield next summer, in concert with the Western Australia coach Justin Langer.
"Having started well in that format I took a lot of confidence into it and I guess that's carried over," he said. "In the four-day format … if I want to play the longer format for Australia I need to score more runs and be as consistent as I can, that's what challenges me the most. And coming in at such a young age I'm thankful for that, I've learned a lot and I feel that I'm making good gains.
"JL's been good not only for me but for West Australian cricket, so I'm really looking forward to working with him over the summer again. He's set clear boundaries for me, which was exactly what I needed and I know exactly where I stand."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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