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Marsh declares Test match ambition

Daniel Brettig

May 3, 2013

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Marsh in his delivery stride, South Australia v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Adelaide, March 7, 2013
Mitchell Marsh: "Western Australia coach Justin Langer's set clear boundaries for me, which was exactly what I needed and I know exactly where I stand" © Getty Images
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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 here

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Posted by bobagorof on (May 6, 2013, 3:19 GMT)

Ozcricketwriter: You say he has the temperament, but then go on to say he needs to improve his temperament? Pick one. He's a talented guy, no doubt, and perhaps with some maturity he may even be captaincy material. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. He has a lot of work to do to prove he's over the ill-discipline that he's shown so far (yeah, he's 21. He's also a professional entertainer). As you say, he also needs to put up some improved First-Class performances to be considered for the Test side.

Posted by   on (May 5, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

@Handyandy You neglect to mention his 36 wickets cost 25 a piece, his List A batting average is a tick under 40 with and bowling is around 24 runs a wicket.

He's also 21 and had 3 injury interrupted seasons.

As for everyone else. He is just stating he has test ambitions and doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a short form cricketer, isn't that what we want?

Posted by Thefakebook on (May 5, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

He should be in the Ashes squad if Maxwell can wear the baggy green any one can make it now!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (May 5, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

I said 2 years ago and I will repeat it. I think that Mitchell Marsh has the talent and the temperament to be Australia's next test captain. I don't see anyone else who is in the mix to take over from Michael Clarke. What the selectors should be doing is trying to expose him to the big time, like they did for Michael Clarke himself at the same time in his career. Give Mitch regular games in ODI and T20 cricket and let him know that he needs to improve his FC record significantly and to improve his temperament if he is to make it to the test team. It would be very bad if we gave him an easy ride to the test team but worse is if we go overboard with discipline and he never makes it in the first place.

Posted by Jayzuz on (May 5, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

This is yet another article where the headline suggests something quite different from what the player has stated. Reminds me of the article where Warner was supposed to have told off the SA batsmen for complaining about some movements in the crowd or something. The headline suggested something aggressive but all Warner said "They should focus on the ball", and this of course caused outrage amongst those who don't bother to actually read what the player has stated (what else was Warner supposed to have said? Perfectly reasonable advice). Here Marsh has been asked about his future and says his ambition has always been to play test cricket. Anyone would think he is standing on a soapbox, beating his chest and demanding attention. People need to get a little more media savy. Much ado about nothing, yet again.

Posted by handyandy on (May 5, 2013, 2:27 GMT)

Lets me see ... 36 wickets in 25 matches and a batting average of 21.

With numbers like that he is lucky to hold down a spot in the state side.

What is it with these Marshes ... loads of talent and sub - par performances.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (May 4, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

He's from australia so he has a chance of playing for his national side. He wouldnt get into Bangladesh's team

Posted by Chris_P on (May 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

@Peter Lewis. I thought you were referring ot Copeland, not Marsh. Read my first post near the start of my thread re:Marsh. Definitely worth consideration for the shorter form, but a very long way off test consideration. We probably have to agree to disagree re:MoHen. I have watched his development with NSW & definitely see the right signs for the future & his recent performaces are way ahead of Watson (first class figures). He had a solid first test, got a couple of great balls then run out for 0 by a very poor call by Wade. He showed far more ticker than Watson though (tests only).

Posted by   on (May 4, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

I'd like to state my ambition, for the record, that at some point in the future Australian selectors don't even need to flirt with the notion of selecting a guy who averages 21 in first class cricket. Geeeez we've got some batting depth woes in this country..

Posted by   on (May 4, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

@Meety 0.:17GMT - the article was about his prospects for test selection. ODI/T20 is a different matter.

@Chris P 0:09GMT - Note that I referring to Watson's record in the past tense. He did deserve to be picked based on his record at the time of the selection. His current form is another matter. The point I was making is that Marsh's case for selection is very different to Watson's. Watson deserved to be picked several years ago because he had a record to back him up at the time.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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