Fit-again Marsh called up for Watson
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