New Zealand v Australia, 2nd ODI, Wellington February 6, 2016

Mitchell Marsh cashes in for club, then country

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Highlights - Marsh steers Australia win

Mitchell Marsh was waiting to bat when a voice behind the players' viewing area piped up. "I was waiting to bat and some bloke yelled out in the crowd," Marsh said. "He just said 'well done, you've gone for $1 million [INR 4.8 crore] in the [IPL] auction', and I was just sort of 'yeah, whatever mate.'"

Events in India on Saturday afternoon were undoubtedly significant for Marsh and his bank balance, but in years to come he is more likely to remember what happened next. Marsh walked to the middle with Australia's chase and Chappell-Hadlee chances in serious jeopardy, but the iron-willed innings he conjured in the company of John Hastings allowed Steven Smith's team to ease to a series-leveling win.

Marsh is still a developing member of the Australia side, something that may be underlined by his possible omission from the squad for the World Twenty20 to take place in India before the IPL. Nevertheless, there were signs of a prospective leader in how he controlled things in Wellington, vitally setting down the ground rules for a match-clinching stand with Hastings.

"It was just a great partnership with Johnny Hastings," Marsh said. "We were in a bit of strife there, not sure how many we needed when he came out, 80 or so, and the way he batted and the way we batted together was extremely satisfying. We came here to get back into the series and we've done that now. So that'll give us great momentum going into Monday [series decider in Hamilton].

"We kept on saying we knew we were ahead of the run rate so we had plenty of time, and I just told Duke [Hastings] to give himself a bit of extra time to get in, watch the ball extremely hard and if it's in his area smack it, because that's when he bats his best. We kept it pretty simple and just tried to take it as deep into the innings as we could, because we knew we had plenty of time and overs left."

This summer Marsh has arguably evolved more as a bowler than a batsman, due at least in part to opportunity. A fully functioning top order left him short of meaningful innings during the home Tests, and it was not until he made a first international hundred in an ODI loss to India at the SCG that he was able to make a decent mark. This innings, guiding Australia home, was further progress and evidence of his increasing mental toughness.

"During the Test match series I didn't get a lot of opportunity because the top five were making a hell of a lot of runs and I just kept working hard," he said. "I wanted to take the opportunity when I got it. When you're under pressure for runs, certainly at this level, you think about a lot of things.

"When you haven't spent a lot of time in the middle things just don't come naturally and you don't think as clearly as you do when you're in form. That's been the biggest thing for me to work on, just worry about watching the ball and the rest will take care of itself. The last few weeks with my batting has given me great confidence to keep going now."

That toughness extended to blocking out the news of his IPL auction price until the match had been successfully finished off. For Marsh, at least, the prospect of winning a match for Australia still takes precedence over glad tidings from the game's financial crucible.

"I just tried to block it out because it was pretty amazing, and then Shaun [Marsh] came and sat next to me with a little grin and gave me a little nudge so then I found out," Marsh said. "Really happy I was able to block that out and focus on the game today, because playing for your country is the most important thing to me, so while that's great I'm really rapt we're back in the series now."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pierre on February 7, 2016, 10:32 GMT

    Tome for an EPL style comp. IPL auction hard to rationalise. $ 1 million for Marsh and virtually zero to buy Colin Munro. For a T20 comp ? Just plain odd !

  • rob on February 7, 2016, 5:55 GMT

    So, by rights, it should be his shout next.

  • Daniel on February 7, 2016, 4:01 GMT

    But they are not an 'unmatched dominant force'

  • sam on February 7, 2016, 0:43 GMT

    That is why Aussies will always be the un matched dominant force in cricket in all forms.The only thing that matter's to them is the pride in donning that Aus cap. Marsh is another shining eg.

  • sam on February 7, 2016, 0:37 GMT

    Whatever. The inngs he played fo Aussies was a million dollar worth!It is going to be a CH trophy winning 1.And coming to the 1 mn dollar pay-cheque,richly deserverved for the world's best all rounder-that he's now turned into.

  • Peter on February 6, 2016, 23:06 GMT

    Good to see him delivering on his potential, it was worth the perseverance. Shaun, are you taking note?

  • Darren on February 6, 2016, 22:07 GMT

    Hastings is a nice story here too -- comes in as cover, but proving hard to drop. He's bowling economically and now hitting important runs. Really seems to know his own game.

  • Jay on February 6, 2016, 20:07 GMT

    Once again another click bait article for sympathizers of test cricket. I simply won't be able to understand your insecure feelings towards T20 leagues. I am pretty sure you all are at least sensible enough to understand that international cricketers get picked in the IPL, PSL, BBL whatever cause they are 'international' players of some repute. If Marsh represented some street team in Australia, would he go for a million $$$ in the IPL auction ? No ! Enough with this club vs country. This debate only happens in cricket. Look and learn from other sports please. Thanks.

  • Peter on February 6, 2016, 14:10 GMT

    that's the way lad baggy green comes first and the rest will be fine

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