Australia in India 2008-09 October 22, 2008

Marsh called up to replace Jaques

Cricinfo staff


Shaun Marsh in action during Australia's ODI tour of West Indies earlier this year © Getty Images
 

Shaun Marsh has been called up to replace the injured Phil Jaques for Australia's tour of India. Jaques was sent home to seek specialist treatment for a long-standing back injury and became the second squad member after Bryce McGain to depart early from the trip.

His absence gives Marsh, a highly rated batsman and the son of Australia's former opener and coach, Geoff, another opportunity at the highest level. Marsh has impressed during his eight ODI appearances, which came in the West Indies and in Darwin against Bangladesh this year, although he has yet to make his Test debut.

Significantly, Marsh has experience of Indian conditions; he played for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL earlier this year and ended the tournament as the highest run scorer. Although he has only just started opening for Western Australia at first-class level having batted at No. 3 for much of his career, he was Australia's preferred choice to replace the specialist opener Jaques.

The call-up has capped off an emotional few days for Marsh, whose grandfather Ted died on Sunday. "Obviously, it's been a tough week for the family but [I'm] looking forward to getting over there and hopefully, if I get a game, I'll be able to do it for pop," Marsh told AAP.

"I gave dad a quick call. He's pretty happy. He's had a tough few days so hopefully it lifts him up a little bit. He'll be very proud."

Marsh knows his chances of a Test debut are slim - he is likely to play only if injury strikes one of the top six - but he is happy just to be part of the squad. If he does feature in one of the remaining two games he will become just the second son to follow his father into Australia's Test team after Syd Gregory, whose father Ned played in the first Test of all in 1877.

"Obviously, I won't be playing but I'll be over there trying my best to get the boys up and doing whatever I can for them," Marsh said. "It's crazy to be honest with you. It's a dream come true to be on a Test tour. It's something I've worked really hard for over the last 12 months.

"Getting in the one-day team was a huge privilege but to be part of the Test team now ... just being over there and being a part of it is an amazing feeling and I'm really looking forward to that. If I get an opportunity, that would be fantastic."

Marsh got the nod ahead of the in-form Brad Hodge, while Andrew Symonds was not a realistic option as he continues his staged comeback after being cut from the squad in Darwin. The selectors were swayed by Marsh's versatility.

"Shaun has been selected having opened the batting for Australia in the one-day international arena and shown great potential," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "He has recently moved to opening the batting in all three forms of the game in interstate competition and played very well in Western Australia's run chase and victory at the WACA against New South Wales.

"As a replacement batsman on the tour, should the opportunity arise, we are confident that Shaun could fill any role in the batting order. We have also taken the opportunity to enhance Shaun's international experience as we consider him to be one of the promising young batsmen in Australia capable of having a significant impact in Australian cricket in the future."

The third Test gets underway on October 29 in Delhi. India lead the series 1-0 with two matches to play.

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