Australia in South Africa, 2013-14 February 8, 2014

Fit-again Marsh called up for Watson

40

Shaun Marsh is to travel to South Africa after all as cover for Shane Watson following the allrounder's withdrawal from the team for the first Test due to a calf strain.

In an episode that might well be entitled 'Sliding Calves' were it ever to be made into a film, Marsh had himself been momentarily tipped out of contention by a calf problem sustained during the ODI series against England, leading to Philip Hughes' call-up in his place.

He recovered swiftly, however, and played a key role in the Perth Scorchers' first Big Bash League title by playing a fluent innings in the final. The national selector John Inverarity said he would now fly to Johannesburg as the tourists prepare for the first Test at Centurion Park, which begins on February 12.

"Shaun has now recovered from injury," Inverarity said, "and the National Selection Panel has selected him to join the squad in South Africa in light of Shane Watson not being available for the first Test with a calf injury."

Marsh may be nursing a slightly sore head following the Scorchers' victory, but he will quickly need to get himself into Test-match mode as the selectors weigh up their options for the first Test at Centurion, a venue that has favoured South Africa heavily since their return to international cricket in 1991.

Alex Doolan seems certain to bat at No. 3 for the tourists, but Marsh, Hughes and Moises Henriques will all be in contention for another spot in the batting order as Inverarity and the coach Darren Lehmann deliberate over the best balance among their available players.

In the aftermath of the BBL final, Marsh had doubted his chances of gaining a call-up to South Africa despite his recovery. "There's a full squad over there now, so more than likely not," he said. "But that's just the way it goes.

"I had to make a decision in the best interests of the team, and at that stage I wasn't fit and we didn't know how long it would be. It was disappointing to miss out, but I guess this (T20 triumph) is a nice reward. It's been a long 13 years for me in WA, and it means a lot."

Little did he know that Watson had by then already suffered the injury that would re-open his path to the airport and the Highveld.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Barnesy4444 on February 12, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    This selection panel is a vast improvement over the previous mob. Inverarity is chairman and has the final say. If Marsh plays ahead of Hughes it will be because of Invers. We know Boof regards Hughes highly and encourages him the whole way.

  • Barnesy4444 on February 12, 2014, 1:01 GMT

    Every tour needs two spare batsmen. Hughes should have been first, and they also went with Doolan, fair enough. Hughes can play quality fast bowling on any pitch with ease and should be in the top order.

    Doolan is an unknown at this level, he's merely average in FC cricket, and throwing him in at 3 against these bowlers on their soil is a big leap of faith. It's sink or swim for Doolan, I really do hope he can swim, but honestly I think he will need floaties.

    Marsh, well, he seems to spend too much time playing for his club after being dropped from WA for my liking.

  • 9-Monkeys on February 10, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Sillyshortleg, it is unfair to suggest all the failings of the current selction panel are soley Inverarity's fault. For instance while the panel included Agar in the UK Ashes squad Inverarity was not the selctor on duty in the UK (I think it was Marsh) and had little or nothing to do with his actual inclusion in the starting 11.

    While I accept the current selection panel has made mistakes it has, in large part, been a massive improvement on the group it replaced. The selections are better and make more sense (more often and not) and very importantly the communication between players and selectors has improved. Players previously complained loudly (think Katich and others) that they were left completely in the dark by the selectors. Under Ivers, and no doubt Marsh has had a big hand in this too, this is no longer the case. OK, players may not like a decission but at least they know what's going on and that can only help lift the bar accross all three disciplines.

  • Ms.Cricket on February 9, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    George Bailey should have been in the squad in the first place. No doubt Bailey did not get a big score in the Ashes but the runs will come. Boon, Geoff Marsh etc struggled initially to get Test runs too but they were leadership class and became pillars of the side. Bailey is a good batsman no doubt. Bailey also brings calmness and smiles to the side while Phil Hughes brings panic and frowns. Team results follow the same pattern. Shaun Marsh is a better choice in the team compared to the package Phil Hughes brings.

  • on February 9, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    @Tumbarumbar - spot on assessment of Phillip Hughes' suitability the South African conditions and team.

  • ygkd on February 9, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    As a player, Inverarity was not as ordinary as Shaun Marsh has been. In first class games, Inverarity averaged a bit more than Marsh, made tons somewhat more regularly (because of a long career he did make 26) - and bowled well enough to be a proper all-rounder with a batting average considerably higher than that of his sla stuff. He could also catch well and captain. How does Marsh stack up against that?

  • punterdgr8 on February 9, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    hilarious aus selections in the past couple of years:s.marsh,quiney,maxwell,henriques,doherty,coulter-nile,m.marsh,wade,doolan,m.arthur(as coach),f.ahmed,u.khwaja(not good enough;also they were a bit harsh on him),p.hughes(a raw cookie,selected when he was not yet ready,made a mockery of himself in india),ed cowan,p.forrest,j.hastings and the list goes on and on and on.

  • punterdgr8 on February 9, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    welll,i hope marsh gets injured once and for all.also can't u aussies form a group and protest in front of ca to get rid of inverarity.wat on earth is he doing????

  • on February 9, 2014, 11:27 GMT

    Can't believe that the selectors not only made the wrong decision once, but twice. Shaun Marsh is a terrible choice for this team. I hope Marsh proves everyone wrong and gets some big scores but I doubt he will

  • BigFella67 on February 9, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Hughes has been treated more unjustly than Schapelle Corby EVER was. Inverarity needs to go. He is not a national selector, he's a national disgrace if he thinks Marsh warrants selection AGAIN for a TEST series based on half day hit and giggle rubbish. He has neither the form, performance or physical capability to be representing our country. Hughes is infinitely more talented and performed than either Doolan or Marsh.

    I won't be staying up to watch this series, that's for sure.

  • Barnesy4444 on February 12, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    This selection panel is a vast improvement over the previous mob. Inverarity is chairman and has the final say. If Marsh plays ahead of Hughes it will be because of Invers. We know Boof regards Hughes highly and encourages him the whole way.

  • Barnesy4444 on February 12, 2014, 1:01 GMT

    Every tour needs two spare batsmen. Hughes should have been first, and they also went with Doolan, fair enough. Hughes can play quality fast bowling on any pitch with ease and should be in the top order.

    Doolan is an unknown at this level, he's merely average in FC cricket, and throwing him in at 3 against these bowlers on their soil is a big leap of faith. It's sink or swim for Doolan, I really do hope he can swim, but honestly I think he will need floaties.

    Marsh, well, he seems to spend too much time playing for his club after being dropped from WA for my liking.

  • 9-Monkeys on February 10, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Sillyshortleg, it is unfair to suggest all the failings of the current selction panel are soley Inverarity's fault. For instance while the panel included Agar in the UK Ashes squad Inverarity was not the selctor on duty in the UK (I think it was Marsh) and had little or nothing to do with his actual inclusion in the starting 11.

    While I accept the current selection panel has made mistakes it has, in large part, been a massive improvement on the group it replaced. The selections are better and make more sense (more often and not) and very importantly the communication between players and selectors has improved. Players previously complained loudly (think Katich and others) that they were left completely in the dark by the selectors. Under Ivers, and no doubt Marsh has had a big hand in this too, this is no longer the case. OK, players may not like a decission but at least they know what's going on and that can only help lift the bar accross all three disciplines.

  • Ms.Cricket on February 9, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    George Bailey should have been in the squad in the first place. No doubt Bailey did not get a big score in the Ashes but the runs will come. Boon, Geoff Marsh etc struggled initially to get Test runs too but they were leadership class and became pillars of the side. Bailey is a good batsman no doubt. Bailey also brings calmness and smiles to the side while Phil Hughes brings panic and frowns. Team results follow the same pattern. Shaun Marsh is a better choice in the team compared to the package Phil Hughes brings.

  • on February 9, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    @Tumbarumbar - spot on assessment of Phillip Hughes' suitability the South African conditions and team.

  • ygkd on February 9, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    As a player, Inverarity was not as ordinary as Shaun Marsh has been. In first class games, Inverarity averaged a bit more than Marsh, made tons somewhat more regularly (because of a long career he did make 26) - and bowled well enough to be a proper all-rounder with a batting average considerably higher than that of his sla stuff. He could also catch well and captain. How does Marsh stack up against that?

  • punterdgr8 on February 9, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    hilarious aus selections in the past couple of years:s.marsh,quiney,maxwell,henriques,doherty,coulter-nile,m.marsh,wade,doolan,m.arthur(as coach),f.ahmed,u.khwaja(not good enough;also they were a bit harsh on him),p.hughes(a raw cookie,selected when he was not yet ready,made a mockery of himself in india),ed cowan,p.forrest,j.hastings and the list goes on and on and on.

  • punterdgr8 on February 9, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    welll,i hope marsh gets injured once and for all.also can't u aussies form a group and protest in front of ca to get rid of inverarity.wat on earth is he doing????

  • on February 9, 2014, 11:27 GMT

    Can't believe that the selectors not only made the wrong decision once, but twice. Shaun Marsh is a terrible choice for this team. I hope Marsh proves everyone wrong and gets some big scores but I doubt he will

  • BigFella67 on February 9, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Hughes has been treated more unjustly than Schapelle Corby EVER was. Inverarity needs to go. He is not a national selector, he's a national disgrace if he thinks Marsh warrants selection AGAIN for a TEST series based on half day hit and giggle rubbish. He has neither the form, performance or physical capability to be representing our country. Hughes is infinitely more talented and performed than either Doolan or Marsh.

    I won't be staying up to watch this series, that's for sure.

  • Tumbarumbar on February 9, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    Warning sarcasm following. Inverarity believes that Marsh is in form based on some 20/20 knocks. On that basis why didn't he recall Bailey given his dominance in the 20/20 format. After all he smacked a few runs over and through the off side in the final so he's obviously 'fixed' his technical problems. On a serious note I think it's pretty obvious that Phil Hughes can play fast bowling on fast pitches in his sleep regardless of what technique he uses but he has a problem with good spin. As South Africa has fast bowlers, fast pitches and a decidedly average spinner surely his selection is a no brainer.

  • Sillyshortleg on February 9, 2014, 5:20 GMT

    Inverarity had a reputation for being a profound thinker which has been greatly tarnished over the last 12 months. The selection of Ashton Agar as spinner for the UK Ashes was absurd. The persistence in the test arena with Shaun Marsh, a terrific T20 player, despite his unimpressive first class and test record is bewildering. Has he learned nothing from the George Bailey experiment? A great one day player is not what a test side needs. Phill Hughes is one of the best first class batsmen in Australia and not that special in the short form. He has had a mixed time in tests and has technical problems to overcome but he has shown he can grind out big innings again and again. How good might Rogers have been for Australia if he had been given a decent run in the test side after his debut? Hughes has failed to make the most of his chances but he is returning to the scene of his greatest test innings at a time when his first class form has been terrific.

  • dunger.bob on February 9, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    I like to think I'm fairly tolerant but this is starting to really grind me down. Why oh why oh why do they still think that Marsh can cut at this level. .. That display at home against India, in a dominant side, was one of the cruellest exposures of any mans weaknesses as I've ever seen. At one stage I was hoping he got injured so he wouldn't have to play the next couple of games just to save him some humiliation. Seriously folks, it was one of THE most cringe-worthy things I've ever seen in cricket. ... On the plus side, if he makes 30 runs for the entire series it will be a vast improvement on his last outing so things may be looking up.

  • on February 9, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    This is a gee up surely! Selectors were let off the hook for their South African 'mental disintegration' when Marsh got injured. Now they have proved they are incompetent. Please kill off the Sheffield Shield competition immediately, replace it with Malcolm Conn's suggested "green hunches v gold hunches" and introduce more T20 so that we give more young players a chance to show off their test match credentials.

  • RVC-38 on February 9, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Australia has their own decisive big 3 Watson, Marsh, Hughes.

  • on February 9, 2014, 1:01 GMT

    I think they should call baily as well. He is gonna be our future captain and also he is playing well.

  • inefekt on February 9, 2014, 0:45 GMT

    Amazing. How this Australian team, with the completely inept selection panel it is forced to endure, managed to beat England is mind boggling. Inverarity needs to be shipped off to the nearest retirement home because he's clearly lost his marbles. Inverarity said yesterday, after Watson's injury, that he was going to be moved to number six in the batting order leaving the number three slot open. This was after he said that Hughes wasn't initially picked because they consider him a top order batsman. But John, a top order spot IS available and was obviously available all along. So I reiterate, Inverarity has lost his marbles!

  • on February 9, 2014, 0:16 GMT

    I just don't get it why call in marsh.what else does hughes have to do to not feel like he is on the outer all of the time

  • on February 9, 2014, 0:10 GMT

    @Rednwhitearmy..."Marsh is australia's 2nd best batsman probably"...mmmm interesting opinion. Who would you say is England's best and 2nd best?....actually I know...Bell followed by Carberry!! AWESOME!!

  • Vishnu27 on February 8, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    RednWhiteArmy: a real rib tickler there. Ho ho. Nice one. I wonder out loud who England's best batsman is? That's where it gets really really funny...

  • Mitty2 on February 8, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    I don't even need to say it. Everyone knows it. Shaun Marsh is a myth. What seven FC centuries at age 30? How many does Hughes (25) have... 25? I'd go so far to say that he's not that talented at all. Surely it's a 'talent' to be able to score big runs and score them frequently? Surely it's a 'talent' to have temperament? Whenever someone mentions the talent of Marsh and Twatto it's infuriating. They clearly aren't that talented as one could only manage a series average of 2.83 against the worst bowling attack to ever come to our shores and one is an arrogant prick who never performs for the team, always get injured (although not one the IPL comes around - he's perfectly fit then) and always flops under pressure. Rogers has more talent than them combined.

    @Dylanbrah, spot on. It's a shambles. Doolan and Marsh over the likes of Vogues, Silk, Carters, North, Handscomb, Head, Cooper, Dunk, White and even Maddinson. A joke.

    @Rednwhitearmy, if that were true I'd start supporting Zimbabwe.

  • Shaggy076 on February 8, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    Not happy that Marsh is going with his mediocre record but it tells me both Hughes and Doolan will play the first test. Hopefully Marsh wont be requires this series.

  • Mervo on February 8, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    Marsh should not be considered a Test player after one innings in the Big Trash game. Stick with technique. Doolan is the man although his record is pretty mediocre. Australia have a very weak batting line up. No Chappells, Borders, Husseys, there. SA bowlers will have an easy time of it. Only Haddin and Rodgers will hold them up.

  • ygkd on February 8, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    Clearly, he's ready for Tests again. I mean, he's played a whole 36.5 overs of Big Bash stuff, which surely proves he's right for a whole 5 days against South Africa who are number 1 in the world only because of a quirk in the ratings system - they keep winning for some unfathomable reason. Belinda Clark has just been reported in the Fairfax press as saying, on the subject of revamping the youth pathways program, that things must be right so "we don't get to the very end and find we've got skill gaps.'' Well, Clark was not deficient in skill, but if the message coming out with the BBL is that this format is a fine preparation for taking on the best test team on their turf, the next generation of players may well be. Yes, good luck to Clark, a former Aus captain, and her revamp. I personally think, though, that the 3 formats is part of the problem. Too many good young players have too many chinks in their game, because of too much limited-overs exposure. Marsh was one such young bloke.

  • drfarnsworth on February 8, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    What a joke!! Marsh was hobbling through some of the runs in the BBL Final. How has he recovered from injury by playing in a T20 to play a 5 day Test against the number 1 team a week later?

    It's such a pity that BBL has taken over the last two months, otherwise we could have sent a proper batsman who had been playing Shield recently and in form. Back to the dark days of India 2012 then.

  • ZanzibarOz on February 8, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    Yay, we have the chance of having two players with proven below average first class records (marsh, doolan) in the test side. Sorry CA, I am not even going to watch this series now.

  • on February 8, 2014, 21:34 GMT

    Here we go again - This should be an Inverarity quote "Let's compund our selection problems by sending Marsh again to SA, after all he can't score runs in 1st class cricket, but he can get them in the short form. I was an ordinary player when I got selected years ago, so I like to see ordinary players seledcted as much as possible" DROP INVERARITY

  • Dangertroy on February 8, 2014, 20:58 GMT

    Marsh is certainly not fit. He was struggling during the BBL final, to the point he was hitting boundaries to minimise running, or turning the strike to his brother to do the same. How is he going to occupy the crease for a few sessions?

  • VillageGreen on February 8, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    It surely sends a message that Moses won't be picked which is the right call. Australia has the bowlers to get 20 wickets…it needs batsmen to score 450. But Hughes would be stiff if he missed out…surely he's ticked all the boxes.

  • Ozzz.z on February 8, 2014, 19:14 GMT

    Marsh in for Watto. I hope as an Australian fan that Watto doesn't return.

  • Winsome on February 8, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    If they wanted yet another all-rounder it would have made more sense to send Mitch, if that could be called remotely sensible. A T20 match hardly proves that he's fit enough to play test cricket. What are the selectors like?

  • on February 8, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Nice ! S. Marsh is one of d best batmen in 2day game ! I sure he will score a few hundreds ! So when he play in d 1st test pls don"t watch !

  • RednWhiteArmy on February 8, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Marsh is australia's 2nd best batsman probably

  • DylanBrah on February 8, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    Strong messages being sent to those in the Sheffield Shield... as long as you appear talented you will be selected. Performance doesn't matter.

  • punterdgr8 on February 8, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    seems to me that they consider marsh as bradman where he can even bat on one leg.why this fascination for him.inverarity is hell bent on breaking the records of his past blunders as if that was not enough for the aussie supporters to persist with.does any1 remember india when our batters smashed "no show"maxwell and "dart thrower" doherty coupled with ridiculous selections of henriques(he had 1 good game though)and matty"i have butter fingers"wade.plus the arthur episode and his 'rotationary' tantrums(axis being the nadir of aus cricket).ca,give me the job;i'm sure i won't do worse than inverarity.and what about lehmann advocating shield runs as 'paramount'.has he forgotten that or ppl in aus are sick of the 'humongous'success they've had in the ashes.believe me,beating sa in sa and ind in ind should be the priority(so that i can tease my dad and hardcore indian fans.v stil harp on beating aus 4-0 which is very painful 4 me 2 digest).

  • stormy16 on February 8, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    What on earth is going on here? I noted Marsh was injured but then he played for the Scorchers and now he is the replacement for Watto. Yes I saw what's being said, he was injured but not for T20 but now fit for tests.

  • on February 8, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Wrner- rogers, Doolan, Clarke, Marsh, Smith,Haddin,Jhonson, Siddle, Harris and lyon

  • on February 8, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    Why not they call up Bailey, once again in a good nig in ODI and T20s against Englad and followed it in BBl and he seems certainly not an injury prone and is a credible player.

  • RandyOZ on February 8, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    If Marsh plays I won't bother watching the series

  • on February 8, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    I'm not sure why CA persist with Marsh. There are other, younger talents that should be playing. For example there's Burns. Young Head has been in good form and is quite young... 20-21? Why not take him over there as experience, like they did for Agar in England?

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  • on February 8, 2014, 13:06 GMT

    I'm not sure why CA persist with Marsh. There are other, younger talents that should be playing. For example there's Burns. Young Head has been in good form and is quite young... 20-21? Why not take him over there as experience, like they did for Agar in England?

  • RandyOZ on February 8, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    If Marsh plays I won't bother watching the series

  • on February 8, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    Why not they call up Bailey, once again in a good nig in ODI and T20s against Englad and followed it in BBl and he seems certainly not an injury prone and is a credible player.

  • on February 8, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Wrner- rogers, Doolan, Clarke, Marsh, Smith,Haddin,Jhonson, Siddle, Harris and lyon

  • stormy16 on February 8, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    What on earth is going on here? I noted Marsh was injured but then he played for the Scorchers and now he is the replacement for Watto. Yes I saw what's being said, he was injured but not for T20 but now fit for tests.

  • punterdgr8 on February 8, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    seems to me that they consider marsh as bradman where he can even bat on one leg.why this fascination for him.inverarity is hell bent on breaking the records of his past blunders as if that was not enough for the aussie supporters to persist with.does any1 remember india when our batters smashed "no show"maxwell and "dart thrower" doherty coupled with ridiculous selections of henriques(he had 1 good game though)and matty"i have butter fingers"wade.plus the arthur episode and his 'rotationary' tantrums(axis being the nadir of aus cricket).ca,give me the job;i'm sure i won't do worse than inverarity.and what about lehmann advocating shield runs as 'paramount'.has he forgotten that or ppl in aus are sick of the 'humongous'success they've had in the ashes.believe me,beating sa in sa and ind in ind should be the priority(so that i can tease my dad and hardcore indian fans.v stil harp on beating aus 4-0 which is very painful 4 me 2 digest).

  • DylanBrah on February 8, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    Strong messages being sent to those in the Sheffield Shield... as long as you appear talented you will be selected. Performance doesn't matter.

  • RednWhiteArmy on February 8, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Marsh is australia's 2nd best batsman probably

  • on February 8, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Nice ! S. Marsh is one of d best batmen in 2day game ! I sure he will score a few hundreds ! So when he play in d 1st test pls don"t watch !

  • Winsome on February 8, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    If they wanted yet another all-rounder it would have made more sense to send Mitch, if that could be called remotely sensible. A T20 match hardly proves that he's fit enough to play test cricket. What are the selectors like?