Marsh revels in completing injury-free international season
After having recovered from the side strain that curtailed his IPL stint this year, Mitchell Marsh is ready to play his part in Australia's busy schedule over the next few months. His immediate focus was on the ODI tri-series in the West Indies from June 3 but then he hoped to cement a Test spot at No. 6 when Australia tour Sri Lanka in July-August.
As such, ensuring his body had enough time to heal became a priority. "It was a very minor injury, but a side strain is one of those things where you can turn a ten-day injury into a ten-week injury just like that, so it was best that I came home," Marsh said of the decision to leave Rising Pune Supergiants in the middle of the season. "Whilst the IPL is a great tournament and I love playing in it, the country always comes first and the right decision was made."
Marsh admitted he has been unable to play as much cricket as he would like due to issues with his fitness and taking such precautions have helped him contribute a lot more consistently for Australia. Since a hamstring injury in the 2014-15 home Tests against India, he has been part of the XI in all three formats quite regularly.
"As a young kid, I didn't value fitness training and getting my body in peak condition, but over the last two years I have really started to make a lot better choices off the field and I've seen the results. I've played a lot more cricket than I ever had. To get through an international season, which is 12 months of the year, obviously you're going to have a few niggles going as hard as we do but to get through unscathed was a great reward for the hard work I've done."
Appraising his place in the overall set-up, Marsh believed he has developed into a genuine allrounder in the shorter formats, but has some way to go before he can say the same in Test cricket.
"I think in the shorter formats, I've certainly gained a lot of confidence in both facets of the game and I consider myself a genuine allrounder now," Marsh said. "But in Test cricket, the proof is in the pudding, I haven't been able to make as many runs for the team as I would have liked. Although I've watched the team make a lot of runs, which is also great, watching your team-mates succeed but I haven't put the runs on the board yet so I can't really classify myself as a genuine allrounder in the Test format. I'm hoping that over the next 12 months, that will change and I will be cemented at the No. 6 Test spot.
"My bowling was something I had to work extremely hard on if I wanted to be a genuine allrounder. That's what the selectors want. Got [former Australia bowling coach] Craig McDermott to thank for that. He's obviously known my father [Geoff Marsh] for a long time so I think anytime that I need him, he's only going to be a phone call away"
Marsh is one of two allrounders headed to Sri Lanka, Moises Henriques being the other and he viewed the competition for spots as a healthy situation.
"In a tour like Sri Lanka, I think the more allrounders the better because it gives you an opportunity to play more spinners if the wicket is going to be turning," Marsh said. "Moises has worked extremely hard. He has been a little unlucky throughout his career with injuries, but I am sure he is going to jump at the opportunity to be back on tour with Australia. I've got a great relationship with him. He is a similar sort of player, he has got a lot of experience and I'll be learning as much as I can from him."
Marsh and the rest of the Australians stopped in New York on Monday before reaching the Caribbean in an attempt to diminish the possible impact of the jet lag on their on-field performances. "Pretty much," Marsh confirmed. "That's definitely the case. We're obviously extremely lucky that Cricket Australia have allowed us to do that. We've had a chance to get out and about and see what the city has to offer but we're still focussed on our task at hand over the next month and we're looking forward to getting to Guyana first."
Australia begin their tri-series campaign against hosts West Indies on June 5.