Australia news October 25, 2012

Discipline deserts Marsh brothers again


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew 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!!!!

  • Lou 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.

  • Andrew 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.

  • Jason 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!

  • Andrew 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.

  • Philip 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.

  • Alistair 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 :)

  • Andrew 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.

  • Merv 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!

  • Philip 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.

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