Queensland v WA, Sheffield Shield, Brisbane February 5, 2012

Marsh begins long road back

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shaun Marsh has reflected on a horrific Test summer as he begins his batting rehabilitation in the Sheffield Shield, admitting that by the time of the final match in Adelaide he was "almost a walking wicket".

Marsh is taking the field for Western Australia against Queensland at the Gabba this week, intent on regaining the form and confidence that drained so completely from his batting against India. He has acknowledged that the selectors' call to send him back to his state, far from the madding crowd, was the right one.

"I would love to be playing for Australia but it is going to be good for me to get out of the spotlight and train hard for WA," Marsh told Brisbane's Courier-Mail. "I am not going to go hiding in this period. You can go two ways. You can take the easy option and go hide behind a brick wall or you can go about your business and go and get some runs again.

"I am at the bottom of the barrel right now but other people have been in this position and come back and had nice careers for Australia. I know if I keep doing the right things it will change."

Having begun his Test career with so much poise in Sri Lanka and South Africa, Marsh battled to overcome a back complaint and was hurried back into the team for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, where he commenced a series that would reap a meagre 17 runs in six innings.

Things were never worse than the first morning in Adelaide, when he missed a straight ball from R Ashwin to be bowled. Of that moment, Marsh said: "By the time of that dismissal I was just so tentative in the middle. I was almost like a walking wicket."

So much had changed from the first innings of the Cape Town Test against South Africa in November, when Marsh held his own against Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander on a treacherous pitch in the company of his captain Michael Clarke.

"I was having the time of my life," Marsh said. "I was just starting to feel at home in Test cricket. It was fantastic. It was tough but I was loving every minute of facing two of the best bowlers in the world in [Morne] Morkel and [Dale] Steyn on a very difficult wicket."

However a blow to the groin unbalanced Marsh, and soon after he began to feel growing pain and immobility in his back, losing his wicket soon after. He made a lame duck in the second innings, and has been unable to relocate his Test match touch since.

"Two balls before lunch I got hit in the groin area," Marsh said. "I felt myself seizing up in the lunch break. Just after lunch I felt a pop in my back. It got worse and worse and I got out shortly afterwards ([or 44]."

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  • rob on February 7, 2012, 1:33 GMT

    It just goes to show what a damn good thump to the groin area can do for a man. ... seriously though, he looked as though the whole of his life was flashing before his eyes everytime someone bowled a delivery to him. The classic rabbit in the headlights... too scared to move, thinking too much... dead meat for any decent bowler. ... the bloke LOOKS like he can bat when in better form, but I'm not convinced about his toughness, mental or physical. I don't think we can afford a player like that at this point. .. if he can get heaps of runs in the shield and force himself back into the side then good on him. I, however, won't be holding my breath waiting for it. ..

  • michael on February 7, 2012, 0:26 GMT

    Anybody who has had a back injury knows that it affects your mobility and confidence, and it takes a while to properly recover from them. The selectors did a bad job here. It set the Aussie team back (against India was a good time to explore N0. 3 options) and it really set Marsh's career back. He is now badly thought of rather than positively thought of. Imagine if Cummins had soldiered on for a few dud performances while carrying an injury - we'd all think of him in those terms. You're as good as your last showing. The selectors are paid to know this sort of thing and they failed the fans, the team, and Marsh. Blind Freddie could see he was restricted and not up to it as he hung his bat out where he wasn't able to get his bodyin line to. Scoring 90 in a t20 where you're rewarded for squirting the ball in the air through 2nd slip to point was a ridiculous gauge for selection in the test team.

  • Andrew on February 7, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    @rupam1842 - took the words right out of my mouth, no wait a minute, you just took my words! LOL! @zenboomerang - I don't like filtering stats like that in this case as I think a line in the sand can be drawn from his injury, to his subsequent scores. I think there is enough there to suggest he could be sub-continent specialist, given he has played a lot of T20 in the IPL., & definately looked good in SL. Whilst it can be said that SL's PACE attack is weak, (they did win in Saffaland recently), their spinners are very handy & SL was rated above us at the time of the series. Khawaja must be on the plane to the WIndies, but I am also VERY keen on how Lynn goes over the next few weeks, although Khawaja & Lynn aren't like for like players.

  • Terry on February 6, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    In hindsight that 90 odd he made in the t20 that rushed him back into the Test team was the worst thing that could have happened. Back in the good old days there would have been Sheffield Shield matches for him to play to get back into nick but unfortunately we now have this hiatus where the Shield disappears and we have a whole month of BBL rubbish. Should have been protected from himself by missing Adelaide at least ....something for the selectors to take on board. Sometimes having faith in a player is the wrong option for him long term. Now he has a long road back.

  • Shankar on February 6, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    That's the right attitude. Marsh has a great technique but it is injuries and form that has made his FC career kind of messy. He will come back and he will be on song. I think the selectors rushed him too early. It is going to be 4 way toss between Marsh, Khawaja, Hughes and I think Rob Quiney for the No.3 position for the Ashes. Oh and throw in Watson if he stays healthy.

  • Bryn on February 6, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    brilliant players done lose class, hence why you have seen ponting do what he has been doing of late. marsh will obviously be back soon playing and scoring some of the best runs you have ever seen.

  • Roo on February 6, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    @Simoc... Clarke moved from no.5 to 4 & failed - why shouldn't that happen if he moves up to no.3?... Watson is not a top order batsmen - an average below 40 with only 2x100's in 58 innings proves this... If Wade was our Test keeper, Watson would bat at no.7...

  • Steve on February 6, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    @Sudu_putha no we remember, it is a small part of why we rebuilt. do you remember being beaten by us on your home soil since then?

  • Simon on February 6, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    With Khawaja and Marsh both proving they're not yet up to it at test match level in Australia, Clarke or Watson should move to three.

  • josh on February 6, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    Marsh is the type of player who is really good or really bad at diff times

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