Australia news

Discipline deserts Marsh brothers again

Brydon Coverdale

October 25, 2012

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

The Marsh brothers, Mitchell (left) and Shaun (right), Melbourne Renegades v Perth, BBL, Melbourne (Docklands), December 22, 2011
Mitchell and Shaun Marsh were dropped by the Perth Scorchers after a big night out © Getty Images

Cricket Australia's chairman Wally Edwards hopes the off-field troubles among the Perth Scorchers players in South Africa could be the catalyst for a change of culture in the state's cricket scene. Edwards, who played Sheffield Shield cricket for Western Australia during the 1970s and also serves as the WACA vice-president, said the problems in South Africa were "a huge disappointment" for a state that hasn't won any silverware for eight years.

The Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell, were axed from the Scorchers' last match in the Champions League Twenty20 after a night of partying to celebrate Mitchell's 21st birthday and could face disciplinary action from the WACA. However, News Ltd reported that at least half a dozen players were out on the town last Thursday and a shortage of playing numbers meant some kept their places for the Scorchers' last match.

Unfortunately for the Scorchers and the Western Australia state side, a lack of off-field discipline has become all too frequent in recent years. Mitchell Marsh was sent home from the Centre of Excellence this year after turning up to a training session hungover, and Shaun also has a history - in 2007 he and state team-mate Luke Pomersbach were suspended after a boozy night.

"As a West Australian and an ex-West Australian player, we've been concerned about their lack of performance for the last ten years," Edwards said. "The team hasn't performed well for various reasons. What's happened in South Africa is obviously a huge disappointment for everybody associated with West Australian cricket. I'm sure the new [WACA] board that will be in place as of next Wednesday will be looking very hard at it.

"Lack of success usually has many, many reasons. There are lots of small things that you have to get right. If you don't get them right things don't work out well. I'm sure the current chairman [David Williams] and Dennis Lillee as president and the new board that will be inducted next Wednesday night in Perth will take a very serious look at it. Maybe it's something like this that makes them really get involved and sort things out."

Edwards will not be part of the new WACA board as of next week, when constitutional changes will be introduced that will sever his official ties with the state as part of Cricket Australia's push towards an independent board. The discipline problem will be a matter for Lillee and Williams, and more immediately for the WACA chief executive Christina Matthews.

"I don't have all the facts but clearly there has been things going on in South Africa that shouldn't have," Matthews told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I have asked team management to have a full report on my desk by Monday morning. We'll be sitting down as a management team to examine that report and go from there.

"Everybody wants to talk about the Marsh brothers but this is not just about them. Clearly there is some sort of discipline issue; the players didn't prepare themselves adequately for what was an important game. That is something we need to look at very seriously."

The discipline problem in South Africa was first raised by Simon Katich, who said after the Scorchers' loss to Delhi Daredevils on Sunday that the team had "got what we deserved" for not preparing well enough. After Tuesday's consolation victory of Auckland, the captain Marcus North confirmed that players had "let the team down in preparation last week".

Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said he was disappointed to learn of the issues in the Scorchers camp and he hoped both Marsh brothers could learn from the experience and return to the kind of on-field form that resulted in them both being chosen to play for Australia within the past year.

"You don't like to hear of or read of those sorts of incidents," Sutherland said. "I don't know enough about the facts. I know it's kept Christina Matthews pretty busy in the last couple of days. I'm sure she'll be closely focused on working on that with her board.

"From our perspective, both Shaun and Mitchell are players of national interest. Perhaps Shaun hasn't done as well since he made that great hundred on debut and it would be great to see them both back very firmly in the focus of the selectors' eyes. They're still extremely high potential players as far as we're concerned and we hope to see them performing very soon."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Meety on (October 28, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

@ Winsome on (October 27 2012, 19:39 PM GMT) - merit in that, but he got into strife in Brisbane - the other side of the continent, & in Sth Africa. I think he ha a nose for it, then again, so did Punter & he turned out allright!!!!

Posted by Winsome on (October 27, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

It's a great shame that Mitchell Marsh appears to be going down the road of his brother. Mitch should leave Perth, he'd have to fight more in another state, he wouldn't just be a walk-up to the first 11 in every format.

Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

@ Pazman on (October 26 2012, 04:36 AM GMT) - point is taken but Punter had several altercations in Nite Clubs around before he pulled his head in. He was reprimanded at the time.

Posted by Pazman on (October 26, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

21st birthday is not reason. What about Ponting, Steve Waugh and Tendulkar? All playing internation cricket at the time of their 21st birthdays. Difference is they had their eyes on achieving greatness! Sadly I don't Marsh is dedicated and disciplined enough to fulfil his potential. Personally Coulter-Nile is one to watch. People have made comparisons to late 70's and 80's and what players did then. Well players weren't the same amount and for most part weren't professional So its a ridiculous comparison. Also you only ever heard of players back then drinking. In this case with the Marsh brothers and their mate Pomersbach in the past it was just drinking thats on the party menu. Howeever it is time the WACA draws a line. They de-listed arguably their most dedicated and disciplined player in the off-season (Robinson) and are happy to make the easy decisions. Time to toughen up Lachie Stevens otherwise Simon Katich will have your job in the blink of an eye!

Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

@ygkd on (October 26 2012, 02:58 AM GMT) - IMO, you are spot on. Cric Oz has at least one month in the year set aside for the players, which is really like Annual Leave, there are other windows in the year that IF players weren't playing in other Leagues, they would have plenty of R & R. Cricket for International players does have a more year round impact for players, but the conditions in Oz have been fairly heavily negotiated by the players union. So I really don't think MMarsh is being treated unfairly.

Posted by ygkd on (October 26, 2012, 2:58 GMT)

This is not about wowserism. Cricket Australia provides youngsters with a pathway to professionalism and potentially big pay packets. The price to be paid for that is not being a normal mid to late teen or twenty year old. The old days are long gone. The likes of Ian Chappell fought for professional status and this is the trade-off of that success - a professional doesn't just turn up when and if they're bothered and in any state they like, they have their status to maintain and, in these cases, to improve. Personally, I believe there would plenty of more appropriate opportunities to let your hair down. There's also a long, long time after you retire playing. It's not like anyone's asking up-and-coming players to be teetotal.

Posted by Burbon on (October 26, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

Give the guy a break , he just turned 21. This is nothing compared to what the West Indies did when they were on top. Actually I think the beers gave em a boost :)

Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2012, 1:36 GMT)

@Mervo on (October 25 2012, 21:28 PM GMT) - fair enuff, but the fact is the Chappell era was semi-pro. They were paid peanuts & who would dedicate their lives to a sporting cause with minimum wage AND no lurks? It's a shame, but a State contract is well above the average national wage. There are rules that the employer has & they broke them! Pro-footballers have contracts torn up for superficially less than what the Marsh's MAY of done at a younger age (18 to 20) every year. Often at that age - their contracts (pro-footballers) are a lot less than what the Marsh's would be on.

Posted by Mervo on (October 25, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

What garbage. They young guy turned 21! If this standard had been applied in earlier years not one of Ina Chappells champion team would have got on the field for any match. For everyone's sake get real and stop being wowsers!

Posted by ygkd on (October 25, 2012, 20:59 GMT)

If you want to be a professional cricketer, the first thing you have to be is, unsurprisingly, is professional. Otherwise, as Meety said, there's always club cricket. This issue isn't just hit-and-giggle stuff. WA have had a few problems for a number of years which has meant they have not lived up to their FC potential. It's no good supporters yearning for the old days when Marsh senior was in his prime. I would ask nothing but this - how much did the '80s WA players earn in respect to what they achieved on-field and how much more would they earn if they were doing it now? If you want the professional's full modern pay-packet you turn up for work. Properly. As Liquefierrrr said, it's part and parcel of the life they chose.

Posted by whatawicket on (October 25, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

for guys whos father was a model professional these 2 take the biscuit. the older marsh as should be the case of 2 brothers, should be showing the way for his younger bro . in any sport there is a time to let off steam. the Aussies have not had much to celebrate recently so maybe a 1 off. so take it, it still may be a long before the next.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (October 25, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

If they didnt break any laws wheres the problem?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (October 25, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

He's older and hopefully wiser now but having Dennis Lillee in charge of discipline doesn't instil me with confidence.

Posted by eegs18 on (October 25, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

Mitchell Marsh needs to get his act together he is an incredible talent and Australia will need him to replace Watson one day and that cannot happen at the present. He needs to realize just what it means to play for Australia and Western Australia.

Posted by kickittome70 on (October 25, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

The Scorchers were out of contention to make the finals so the fact they were patying on made no difference really. And Mitchells 21st was on and where better to party than in SA. Good on the boys. I'm sure Huddo would be proud.

Posted by InsideHedge on (October 25, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

Someone here said it was a dead rubber game. No, it wasn't - the match against Delhi was a LIVE game, Perth were still in the competition, a win against DD would have given them a chance of the semis. Another poster wrote that it was only a "Mickey Mouse" competition. Ask the WACA officials, and Marcus North if they felt it was a meaningless tournament, if that was the case, we wouldn't be hearing about this.

Posted by leave_it_to_the_umps on (October 25, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

Everyone is talking about perfromance of the Marsh brothers - in the game after Mitch's bday Shaun was the top and Mitch 3rd highest scorer for perth and mitch had the best strike rate of any perth player and only slightly behind Sehwag who was the only Delhi player to have a significant contribution. Neither bowled (mitch only got 2 overs all tournament) and mitch caught the only chance either had. Not a bad performance in a game Perth narrowly lost with 8 being scored off the final over!!!

You can go further and see that Shaun and Mitch were 2nd and 3rd highest scorers for the tournament despite missing the final game and Mitch was the only batsmen to contribute in the 1st loss and in the 2nd shaun setup the innings and Mitch had just came into bat when the rain came!

I would look at the others who didnt perform rather than focusing on two of the better performers who happened to celebrate a family birthday... who were the other 4 players and how well did they perform?

Posted by disco_bob on (October 25, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

@NeilCameron, Absolutely mate. Starting this nonsense at 21 is not an excuse it's an alarm bell. Symonds' career would not have ended in tears had he not been given so many chances.

Posted by Meety on (October 25, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

@ NeilCameron on (October 25 2012, 07:33 AM GMT) - sorry I disagree. IMO, it's a no-win situation, a player who has gone the drink the night before & has had a good day the next day is just a club cricketer who got lucky. The Marsh brothers have expectations, they sign contracts, they know what is acceptable. One of the problems in T20 cricket is, that performance accountability can be very lax. If you go out & hit 13 off 10 balls, you have contributed, but did you really do your best? If the Marsh brothers what to go out on the drink that's fine - go play social 3rd grade cricket!

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (October 25, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Clearly two sides of the story here - a few young blokes celebrating a milestone birthday before a dead rubber cricket match VS contracted professional players not behaving to the standards expected of them. I would have preferred the players concentrate on cricket before partying to the extent that they got dropped from a match. Even though they were already out of the comp they could have used the game to build on their experiences and development - plus build their fan base.

Posted by jonesy2 on (October 25, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

NeilCameron -- absolutely spot on

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (October 25, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Very dissapointed by Shaun Marsh as this was a repeat performance from him. Mitch can be forgiven as he is only 21.

Posted by jonesy2 on (October 25, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

the problem isnt what they have done its that they have let it interfere with theirs and the teams game. they were a disgrace on and off the field in the champions league and have a lot to answer for especially for fans of the WACA like myself. it blows my mind that players like the marsh bros who are some of the most talented players in the world and particularly mitch who should be on his way to becoming one of the great aussie allrounders, can not seen to give a stuff about their careers. kat, north and the coach should have smacked them around and kicked herchelle bloody gibbs off the team altogether

Posted by lipp on (October 25, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

does it really matter if they don't perform in these ridiculous mickey mouse games? Get them back playing real cricket, ie, Sheffield Shield, to see whether they can stand up to a real "Test"!!

Posted by   on (October 25, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

its not about that they dont have a life its the fact that they need to be at peak performance at training - before and at the game day, when there is a few days off then go get pissed, go clubbing or what ever they do, simple guys, time and a place, stop being little spoiled brats and stop wasting that talent you both have.

Posted by srriaj317 on (October 25, 2012, 9:58 GMT)

@ Hayden Field, Antomann, Kavum: Don't forget that in the past, cricket was more social than professional and players those days weren't paid much to play. Today, most cricketers manage to make millions with their state and BBL contracts and this demands that they put in their best performance and preparation for every game.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (October 25, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

@Kavum - These are professional sportsmen being paid vast sums of money to perform at their peak. No-one's asking they be devoid of personality, but that they do the job they are contracted to do.

Posted by   on (October 25, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

The fact that the Scorchers have a shocking tournament, meant that the management were going to jump all over any discretion. It's hopefully something the Marsh players and others will learn for. I wonder what Marsh senior would have said.

Posted by Antomann on (October 25, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

Ridiculous. No wonder modern cricketers are so dull, they're not allowed to have a life.

Posted by   on (October 25, 2012, 7:48 GMT)

Amazing how these old school retired players can stand up and point the fingers....not to mention that their old man and his opening partner Boon...was it 52 tinnies? How PC do we want to get? If the officals and managers who had their freedom to have a few beers in celebration in their playing days why can this lot not? Maybe if the media did not scrutinise every movement or action they do - there would be less pressure and desire to release some steam.

Posted by Nightwing32 on (October 25, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

Poor Northy. I think both of the Marsh bros should get the downgrade to grade cricket until they redeem themselves. Massive difference right now between Hughes and Marsh (Shaun)

Posted by jahinoz on (October 25, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Stupidity. You don't have to celebrate something on the day, go out the night after, especially when the day after is a champions league match. If I turned up to work hung over the day of an important presentation, I'd probably lose my job. These boys are lucky they're only getting a slap on the wrist. Let's hope it only happens once and someone reminds them what happened to Andrew Symonds.

Posted by NeilCameron on (October 25, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

It's important to note that the "off field discipline" only ever has relevance when it impacts upon performance. Had the players gone on a drinking binge and then performed well the following day, it would be no problem. It is performance that counts. The crime committed by the Marsh brothers was not that they drank too much, their crime was that when they began the game, they were not in a good enough physical shape to play at a high level. They let the fans and their teammates down. They should be ashamed of themselves. They need to be dropped forthwith and only returned to the squad if their match performance at a lower level warrants it.

Posted by Kavum on (October 25, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

Get a life WACA! These are young people in their prime, feeling good about themselves, playing a game that they love. We don't want cricketing automatons that say and do the right thing always. I would take Javed, Beefy, Viv, Freddie and KP any day over boring players like Cook and many similar whatiznames that drive all the personality, verve and spontaneity out of this great game. What draws people in is that they are seeing the best talent, warts and all, playing with passion and flair. Most of all they're seeing real human beings who are brilliant one day and rubbish the next (maybe) because of a sore head after the night before. That's like most of us mortals. That's why we identify with them and love them and the game they grace. If the new moralists of pro-cricket had their way, we could see robot cricket very soon. Happy belated 21st B'day Mitch. Have a pint for me. BTW, KP still can't dance.

Posted by   on (October 25, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

No matter what discipline is of utmost importance in both on and off the field!! If you don't behave yourself then you are asking for troubles.

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (October 25, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

A shame really, a semi-regular occurrence in the WA ranks. I guess the fact it was his 21st at least explains (if not justifies) the decision. It is considered a fairly big milestone in western culture, and not only that it reinforces just how young Mitchell is. Others, if we accept that the decision to go out was wrong, should have known better. It may be the item that improves things properly for WA, so let's hope that something as positive as that comes from this. They are still just human beings, some of them very young ones at that, but people who say this tend to forget that they are all very well compensated and it is their job and duty to perform well on the field, and ensure they give themselves every opportunity off the field to ensure this happens. This includes adhering to managerial policies, no matter how strict they are perceived to be, as they are implemented to ensure the highest performances are possible. It is part and parcel of the life they've chosen.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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