Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 10, 2014

Shaun Marsh in serious contention

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A perfunctory preparation and the considerably greater batting hours clocked by his rivals may not stop Shaun Marsh from making an extraordinary return to Australia's Test side for the first Test against South Africa on a decidedly grassy Centurion Park pitch.

Only three days after he arrived in Africa and only four since he considered himself having no chance of being called up to the touring team following a calf injury, Marsh is a serious contender for one of two batting spots left vacant by the dropping of George Bailey and the loss of Shane Watson to injury.

Alex Doolan remains favoured to make his debut in the first Test, but Marsh is thought to be ahead of Phillip Hughes in the eyes of the tour selectors Darren Lehmann and John Inverarity, who chose him in their initial squad of 15. This is despite the fact that Hughes has now been in South Africa for nearly two weeks and top scored with 83 in the closest thing the Australians have had to a warm-up match - center wicket practice at the Wanderers on Friday.

Brad Haddin, the vice-captain, said that Hughes' greater acclimatisation time would not necessarily work in his favour. "If it's whoever gets here first we're going to have state players trying to get their own flight over here before everyone else," Haddin quipped. "Hughesy was in pretty good form in the trial game the other day but Shaun was picked on the original tour.

"Shaun's probably getting to the age where it's his last crack. He seems more settled in him game. What I've seen during the one-day series he seems pretty comfortable with where he was at. It's no better arena to test himself against these blokes to see how far he has come in his game."

The other option open to Lehmann and Inverarity is the inclusion of the allrounder Moises Henriques, but Haddin said he was very confident that a four-man bowling attack would be sufficient at Centurion, with Nathan Lyon capable of fulfilling a holding role alongside Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

"They've done that during the summer," Haddin said of the bowlers shouldering a heavy load. "Watto didn't bowl that much during the summer in all honesty. I think the bowlers are pretty conditioned to that, and also this is a three Test series not a five Test series so they won't be holding anything back and they won't be holding anything back, whatever we decide to go with, and even Warner bowled a few overs the other day so you never know..."

Haddin was central to Australia's sweep of England at home, counter-attacking boldly with the bat whenever he was called upon to do so. He duly enjoyed the celebrations in the wake of the Ashes as heartily as anyone, but has now taken a central role in re-focusing the team on their next target.

"I felt as comfortable as I have for a long time. I was just enjoying the whole series," Haddin said. "It was a massive series to be part of an Ashes campaign and I enjoyed it but this is another challenge. These guys are number one in the world and they've got a pretty handy attack so it's going to be a different kettle of fish so I'm looking forward to that.

"I'm always trying to look at ways to improve and simplify my game. I always said if I stop trying to challenge myself to be a better player I'll call it a day. I'm still enjoying the challenge to be the best cricketer I can and I'm really looking forward to having a crack at this series. It's going to be a cracker, there's going to be nowhere to hide, so it's going to be a great series all-round."

As for what Australia had to do to knock South Africa off the lofty, undefeated perch they have held in Test cricket since 2009, Haddin said improvement on the team's efforts against England was mandatory, most particularly in the area of first-innings batting. Graeme Smith's team cannot be expected to be quite as charitable as Alastair Cook's men had been whenever they slid to five down for not many.

"We've got make sure we recognise the big moments and when the big moments do arrive we jump on them," Haddin said. "Whether that's getting through a tough hour with the ball, bowling some maidens for a session, or taking the game by the scruff of the neck and moving it forward. We've just got to recognise what the game needs.

"You've always got to look to improve. We can't just rest on what we've done against England. Yes, that was exciting but now it's a totally different beast we're trying to tame here. I'd like to keep scoring two hundreds per Test as it averaged out in Australia but obviously we need to get first innings runs. That's one of the areas we need to improve on. That's no secret to anyone."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • christoph20 on February 13, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    Oooohhh. it appears that the selectors were correct to play Marsh.

    All I hear are crickets in the background. ;)

  • Ms.Cricket on February 11, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    George Bailey should have been in the squad instead of Phil Hughes. 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.

  • Meety on February 11, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    The will they/won't they Marsh selection thing is just a really bad recurring nightmare. PLEASE select anyone of Henriques/Doolan or Hughes instead. Marsh should be left to play Shield for WA.

  • christoph20 on February 11, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    From what I gather Mitch Johnson was only picked for the last ashes tests due to his performance in the shortest form of the game. On that basis he defeated a very poor English team. Whats Hughes form against the SA pace? This "fortresss" ground may play more like the WACA, and maybe that is in the selectors minds. But given that North would be a good chance.

  • hmmmmm... on February 11, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    ...looking at his stats again maybe marsh is being selected on the basis of his left arm orthodox bowling in FC cricket! There's no other explanation.

  • Ragav999 on February 11, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    It seems that Marsh's average of 2.83 is going to be in memoirs for ever like Don Bradman's 99.94.

  • ygkd on February 11, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    I can't see the potential similarity between bringing back Marsh and the recent return of Haddin and Johnson. Haddin was a proven player with leadership skills whose performance suffered due to very real family problems. Johnson was a sometimes proven player with attack-leading potential whose performance suffered due to very real absences of probably what should be described as clarity of thought. Marsh, despite the initial rave reviews of his maiden and only Test century, has never been a proven player at that level. That he is even a proven player at FC level is also a moot point. Teen superstar? Yep. Grade superstar? Yes. BBL achiever, when fit? Most definitely. Test player? Um, really? And leadership? You'd be better off with Michael Klinger.

  • IPLisdull on February 11, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    Some further Phil Hughes stats. He has been left out of the side 5 times since first selected, the following are his stints at test cricket; Stint 1 - 5 tests, 472 runs ave. 52. Left out for 8 tests. Stint 2 - 1 test, 37 runs ave. 18.5. Left out for one test. Stint 3 - 1 test, 106 runs ave. 106. Left out for 7 tests. Stint 4 - 10 tests 456 runs ave 24. Left out for 10 tests. Stint 5 - 6 tests 230 runs ave 25. Left out until now.

    If ever there is someone that they needed to pick and stick with surely it is Phil Hughes. He has been mucked around that much in his career, it is time now for an extended run of faith.

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    What @Barnesy4444 said. Agree entirely. Pity my first comment wasn't posted, but I guess it was too seething :). Basically extreme no to Marsh, medium no to Doolan and large no to Henriques. Obvious yes to Hughes. By the lesser negative Doolan makes it in - but he shouldn't have been selected in the first place. Too many Twatto like soft quick fire 20/30 odds. But it's better than Marsh's 2.83.

  • CantFindMyScreenName on February 11, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    Doolan and Marsh are simply not as good as Hughes and North in the First Class Arena.

    I can't speak for Doolan, but Marsh has shown nothing - talent or attitude wise - to show that he'll be able to lift his game to Test Match level.

    Bailey had a chance and his reward, and while he seems like a great bloke and leader, he was never going to be a good enough batsman to hold down a spot at Test level. "Nicks for fun" was the comment, and it proved about right.

  • christoph20 on February 13, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    Oooohhh. it appears that the selectors were correct to play Marsh.

    All I hear are crickets in the background. ;)

  • Ms.Cricket on February 11, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    George Bailey should have been in the squad instead of Phil Hughes. 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.

  • Meety on February 11, 2014, 11:06 GMT

    The will they/won't they Marsh selection thing is just a really bad recurring nightmare. PLEASE select anyone of Henriques/Doolan or Hughes instead. Marsh should be left to play Shield for WA.

  • christoph20 on February 11, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    From what I gather Mitch Johnson was only picked for the last ashes tests due to his performance in the shortest form of the game. On that basis he defeated a very poor English team. Whats Hughes form against the SA pace? This "fortresss" ground may play more like the WACA, and maybe that is in the selectors minds. But given that North would be a good chance.

  • hmmmmm... on February 11, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    ...looking at his stats again maybe marsh is being selected on the basis of his left arm orthodox bowling in FC cricket! There's no other explanation.

  • Ragav999 on February 11, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    It seems that Marsh's average of 2.83 is going to be in memoirs for ever like Don Bradman's 99.94.

  • ygkd on February 11, 2014, 8:20 GMT

    I can't see the potential similarity between bringing back Marsh and the recent return of Haddin and Johnson. Haddin was a proven player with leadership skills whose performance suffered due to very real family problems. Johnson was a sometimes proven player with attack-leading potential whose performance suffered due to very real absences of probably what should be described as clarity of thought. Marsh, despite the initial rave reviews of his maiden and only Test century, has never been a proven player at that level. That he is even a proven player at FC level is also a moot point. Teen superstar? Yep. Grade superstar? Yes. BBL achiever, when fit? Most definitely. Test player? Um, really? And leadership? You'd be better off with Michael Klinger.

  • IPLisdull on February 11, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    Some further Phil Hughes stats. He has been left out of the side 5 times since first selected, the following are his stints at test cricket; Stint 1 - 5 tests, 472 runs ave. 52. Left out for 8 tests. Stint 2 - 1 test, 37 runs ave. 18.5. Left out for one test. Stint 3 - 1 test, 106 runs ave. 106. Left out for 7 tests. Stint 4 - 10 tests 456 runs ave 24. Left out for 10 tests. Stint 5 - 6 tests 230 runs ave 25. Left out until now.

    If ever there is someone that they needed to pick and stick with surely it is Phil Hughes. He has been mucked around that much in his career, it is time now for an extended run of faith.

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    What @Barnesy4444 said. Agree entirely. Pity my first comment wasn't posted, but I guess it was too seething :). Basically extreme no to Marsh, medium no to Doolan and large no to Henriques. Obvious yes to Hughes. By the lesser negative Doolan makes it in - but he shouldn't have been selected in the first place. Too many Twatto like soft quick fire 20/30 odds. But it's better than Marsh's 2.83.

  • CantFindMyScreenName on February 11, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    Doolan and Marsh are simply not as good as Hughes and North in the First Class Arena.

    I can't speak for Doolan, but Marsh has shown nothing - talent or attitude wise - to show that he'll be able to lift his game to Test Match level.

    Bailey had a chance and his reward, and while he seems like a great bloke and leader, he was never going to be a good enough batsman to hold down a spot at Test level. "Nicks for fun" was the comment, and it proved about right.

  • Purdey on February 11, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    There is no doubt Doolan and Marsh are stylish batsmen but their first-class records are mediocre. The success of Rogers should have the selectors looking at Hughes and North who are proven run-makers. In the case of North I find it staggering he has not been mentioned much at all given the season he has had and his Test record in SA. Selecting Henriques would be unwise especially looking the pitch for the First Test. Australia will need a proper top six and can't expect Haddin to continue to dig them out of trouble.

  • IPLisdull on February 11, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    Phil Hughes must play. He is just about topping the shield runs this season, after a good season again last year. He has scored two centuries in his last two first class matches, and a double hundred not long before that

    He has top scored in their only trial game in SAF conditions.

    He has a test batting average of 53 in south africa.

    He must play.

  • on February 11, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    I think hughes has been hard done by, he barely got a chance in england and he has been scoring runs ever since. While i know his past record for the baggy green is scratchy, i dont think marsh or doolan are any better! Might as well pick the bloke who is scoring runs.

  • hmmmmm... on February 11, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Is there some requirement from CA to make one completely moronic selection per series? At least it keeps us all talking about cricket...

    Marsh has no batting record in long form cricket to speak of. Since being dropped... he has gotten worse rather than shown any improvement!

    I am never sure about Hughes (he makes me nervous every time he swipes that little bat outside off stump) but at least could accept that his weight of runs in shield and county cricket are hard to argue with.

  • on February 11, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    Shaun Marsh does seem to be an odd choice, but then so was bringing Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin back into the Ashes squad at the beginning of this summer.

  • TheBigBoodha on February 11, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    The worst selection in the history of Australian cricket. Even worse than the Maxwell/Doherty selections for India. You cannot change a below-average state cricketer into a good test player! How difficult is that to understand? Someone must be held accountable for this.

  • Cantbowlcantbat on February 11, 2014, 1:23 GMT

    Oh no! The Oz selectors have lapsed back into insanity again. I cannot believe we are looking at a 1st Test side with Marsh and Henriques. Neither are Test standard players. Doolan is also an unknown quantity. For all of Hughes' past failures, he at least has Test experience and has made Test centuries against the Saffers. The advances made during the recent Ashes series are quickly being reversed- not a good start for such an important series.

  • Salmon89 on February 11, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Perhaps Watson critics like Ozzz.z could explain what evidence there is to say Shane Watson "can't bat." Admittedly his Test stats are not great, but averaging 36 is not too bad when he also bowls. Maybe more is expected of a number 3, but that may be because he has followed names like Ponting & Boon. Watson's overall first class batting figures are good - average nearly 44, with 20 hundreds. If you take out his Test stats, he has 5479 runs av. 49.8, 16 100s & 27 50s, which is not a bad conversion rate. Most people agree (as I do) that Mike Atherton was a pretty good player, & his Test average was 37.69 & he didn't take many wickets, and his first class average was only a little over 40. There have been some amazing players over the last 20 years. We shouldn't judge people harshly just because they are "only" solid Test players.

  • Barnesy4444 on February 11, 2014, 0:11 GMT

    Yesgothim, Did you actually watch Hughes totally dismantle Steyn, Kallis and Morkel as an opener a few years ago? Then get dropped for no reason only a few tests later?

    Did you see Marsh average about 3 for an entire series on home soil? Did you see Marsh miss straight balls and get bowled off a spinner who wasn't actually spinning it? A good technique means nothing if you don't actually watch the ball. Marsh has been averaging about 25 since. 8 FC centuries in 11 seasons for a man with "perfect" technique is soft.

    Hughes actually top scored by quite a margin in the trial game on a green pitch against our own "best attack in the world" only last week. Doolan made a pretty 25 then shouldered arms!! Soft for a test number 3 wouldn't you say?

    Hughes 3, Doolan 6, Marsh home.

  • dunger.bob on February 11, 2014, 0:07 GMT

    It seems obvious to me that the selectors think they know something the rest of us don't. Marsh hasn't been picked on form so it must be gut instinct or some other factor.

    Who knows. Marsh may come out and play 2 or 3 pearler innings and we could all be saying it was an inspired decision. While that's happening my dog might learn to drive a car. ... about the same likelihood I'd say.

    Anyway, good luck to whoever they end up going with. I think we're going to need our share of luck but more importantly we need as many players as possible playing out of their skin. .. The closer we get to D-day the less confident I'm feeling, but that's just me.

  • on February 10, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    Any Australian fan needs to now just realise this is the squad, and support the players that are selected. Personally, North and Hughes would have got a shot over Marsh and Doolan for me. I probably would have kept Bailey, he will come good. But they have made these decisions. Lets support them and hope the next three tests are entertaining, full of great cricket and tough battles on the field!

  • Someguy on February 10, 2014, 23:09 GMT

    @jonnyboy82 - totally agree. Australia have a very good pace attack, but there is still a huge question mark over the top order. Warner has shown (in Hobart vs NZ) that he can fight it out in tough conditions against good swing/seam bowling, but doesn't do it often enough. Rogers is tenacious, and maybe the confidence gained against England will help, but this is going to be a big step up in quality.

    Clarke we know is very good, but didn't do much in the Ashes. How is his form?

    While I like Smith, we haven't really seen him against a good swing bowling attack in favourable conditions.

    I will be disappointed if they play Doolan and Marsh. They seem to me the type of batsman that will make a very flowing and attractive 20-30 and then get out. I'd rather have Hughes in there who you know will not be pretty, but will fight for every run. Most of his problems in recent tests has been getting a start against quality spin in spin friendly conditions. That will not be a problem.

  • Someguy on February 10, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    Hughes is a genuine test batsman. He is someone that will go on and get big runs once he gets set. If he was given half the chance at a consistent place in the team that some other players, like Cowan and Watson, I am confident he would do significantly better than either of them. Even Bailey got 5 matches in a row in the same position. The only time Hughes got 5 matches in a row in the same position he averaged 52+ and got dropped. Since then he has sorted out a few technical problems and been in and out of the team and up and down the order enough to make you dizzy.

    Neither Marsh or Doolan have either career records or current form to justify their place in the team. North is probably too old to bring back in, you want someone more long term, but White and Lynn have good form, in all formats. Ferguson was looking good in the shield matches at the start of the season, and showed from his stint in the ODI team before injury that he can step up. Marsh and doolan make no sense

  • Shaggy076 on February 10, 2014, 22:32 GMT

    jonnyboy82 - I agree South Africa will be favourites being world number 1 and on there home soil but your explanation is as flaky as South Africas home record against AUstralia. "You always fancy warner and smith to gift their wicket, hughes and doolan have had stuttering test careers and clarke's proficiency against the short ball will be tested." - Firstly lets start with Clarkes proficiency being tested against the short ball. Well let me counter argue in the last 5 tests against South Africa with this same attack he has scored a 150 in South Africa and two double tons in Australia - Yes seems flakey to me. Then Warner and Smith to gift there wicket - Perhaps but how many runs will they get first. Smith now has 3 tons in his last 6 tests, he is better than what you have written. Also Warner averaged 60 in his last series and deserves a lot more credit than that. Then Doolan has had a stuttering test career - How can you have a stuttering test career before you have played a game?

  • eatpraycricket on February 10, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    *continued the support give his last 3 years that should have seen his average sore have been curtailed at every turn by injury. He clearly has some issues with focus on his career that appear settled at 30 and with a new partner. Australian cricket needs get a payoff from all his promise and they could have a world class opener or number 3 for the next 5/6 years.

  • eatpraycricket on February 10, 2014, 22:23 GMT

    Reading comments like If only Cameron White, Luke Butterworth and Adam Voges were on tour instead of Shaun Marsh, Moises Henriques and Phil Hughes. Given the almost identical records of both success and failure that these 6 candidates hold it is laughable suggestion. The comment could so easily be reversed that its almost meaningless. There is an entire generation of Australian Crickets that have suffered from drastic peaks and troughs of form. To keep harping on about Shaun Marshes negatives is pointless. He is the classiest batsmen in Australia outside of the established Clarke and Haddin. He has suffered because of his sucess in the IPL.At 24/25 he's the top scorer in the first IPL. It might seem meaningless except when you consider other IPL top scorers include Sachin Tedulcar, Michael Hussey, Chris Gayle. His formative years have been distorted by success, money, fame in a format that isnt condusive to long form cricket success. However the selectors are backing him as he deserves

  • Shaggy076 on February 10, 2014, 22:19 GMT

    Hughes top scores in there practise match batting down the order. What more can he do? Now they are talking about playing Marsh who has only just arrived without a hit in front of him. I think its obvious that Hughes must play in this test why cant the selectors see it? Not only should he be playing in front of Marsh he should also be playing in front of Doolan.

  • ShutTheGate on February 10, 2014, 21:46 GMT

    I think it might be Boof how is championing Shaun Marsh. He wasn't considered until Boof took on the team. Hopefully it's got nothing to do with Boof being mates with his old man.

  • ygkd on February 10, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    With the growing focus in youth programs on beating footy to the talent, by identifying them earlier and earlier, it is sobering to be reminded that one can be a teen superstar and yet also a ten-year+ career dud. Why that deserves one last crack at the big-time, I dunno.

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 10, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    If only Cameron White, Luke Butterworth and Adam Voges were on tour instead of Shaun Marsh, Moises Henriques and Phil Hughes. I guess the selectors know more than we all do. Perhaps Marsh will defy his record, his form and everything he has ever done in his entire life and actually be good in the test arena. You never know. As for Bailey, he could well have come good in South Africa, but perhaps he is on the wayside now.

  • wellrounded87 on February 10, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Two Marshes need to be dumped. Shaun from the test side and Rod Marsh from the selection panel.What a joke. Marsh has miserable shield form, is 30 years old and aside from a debut ton has a terrible test record. There is no reason whatsoever to justify his selection in the team. Hughes, White, North. These are the three that should be looked at.

  • on February 10, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Why doesn't Warner get much bowling ? Let the bowling coach get some work done. Then there can be another Watto .

  • Chris_P on February 10, 2014, 19:48 GMT

    @Sg Krishna . Speaks what? He has poor to average form in the longer game which this test is. The last time he played tests, 4 against the Indian pop gun attack that every batsman plundered hundreds of runs, he managed 17 in 6 digs. 8 centuries in 13 seasons of first class cricket suggests things aren't going to turn around, either. He shouldn't even be in the WA shield side.

  • on February 10, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    ..Shaun Marsh. Instead of George Bailey, who surely given a little more time would have settled in as a decent Test player. Marsh has done nothing but be a Gen Y daddy's boy troublemaker... just the sorts Clarke likes in his little "gang". As I've said before, any threat to Clarke is taken care of, as quickly as possible. Never seen such narcissism in my life.

  • Greatest_Game on February 10, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    And I thought the SA selectors had serious problems, keeping players in the squad for other than cricketing reasons, and excluding players whose form makes them automatic choices! This may end up as the showdown between selectors, with the players abilities not of primary concern.

    Sad, when all that we fans want is to see the two best teams fighting it out.

  • Ozzz.z on February 10, 2014, 18:43 GMT

    I'm glad there choosing marsh. But to be honest a trained monkey has a better chance at getting runs than Watson. He can't bat but can bowl. Hope this is the end of Watson. Go back to domestic cricket Watson learn to grind out an innings than u might contribute o a total.

  • tom120 on February 10, 2014, 17:52 GMT

    I hope they don't pick Henriques, I don't care if they pick anybody else. He played very good first innings in first test in India, but latter he didn't do anything later on. He also doesn't have a good odi record. He's a good t-20 player, but not a test match material. Australia shouldn't repeat mistakes they did in India, by playing the likes of Maxwell and Henriques. They should play genuine batters and bowlers. They don't have a good allrounder like Watto, so shouldn't play one mediocre allrounder.

  • jonnyboy82 on February 10, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    I fancy South Africa strongly in this. Still not convinced by Aussie batting and I think they'll be exposed by a fresh pace attack. Australia profited from strong second innings showings against England, presumably because their front line attack wasn't sufficiently rested after shocking batting displays. I can't see them being afforded the same luxury by south africa. You always fancy warner and smith to gift their wicket, hughes and doolan have had stuttering test careers and clarke's proficiency against the short ball will be tested. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Aussies skittled for 200 hundred on a few occasions.

  • Beertjie on February 10, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    Both Hughes and Marsh are hopeful wannabes at test level (possibly Doolan too). I'm no great Watto fan but I'm with those who say he's needed for balance (in case Rhino breaks down). Lehmann is clearly not sold on Hughes either, but why the punt on Marsh now? As many point out, it simply makes no sense. All these issues suggest Aus. batting won't bear close scrutiny. Whoever plays and fails needs immediate replacement by Watto and the one omitted from the Centurion test. This would not be reverting to panic-mode, but merely accepting that we know only 5 out our best 6. This tour may help us determine the sixth, but somehow I doubt it. The next tour (to face Ajmal and the Pakistanis in the UAE may not help either).

  • First_Drop on February 10, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    @Deckchairand6pack. - you might be right, but without any warm-up match (I'm still shaking my head), Australia will have done very well indeed to come out of the 1 st test with anything but a loss.

  • plymuth12 on February 10, 2014, 16:09 GMT

    at this point the mindset of the selectors has become utterly frustrating. though selection should not be based on statistics alone the selectors should be able to justify certain selection.the attitude of the selectors resembles one of a reactive approach ratheeer than proactive. the ideal plan has to be that of sacrificing a few tests now but developing a concrete team for the future. this point has been justified by past teams numerous times but seems to evade the national selectors. the selection of a player has to be an investment that will eventually come of such as that of philip hughes. my ideal tesst xi would be hughes-warner, khawaja/burns, lynn,clarke,smith,haddin/paine/wade,faulkner,johnson,siddle,lyon depending upon the opponent faulkner would move to no.7 opening up a spot for cummins

  • DeckChairand6pack on February 10, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    I've never been convinced by Shaun Marsh. He always looks a bit flakey, I would be far happier seeing him in the Australia line up versus someone like Phil Hughes who battered us in 2009. That said, neither would pose too much of a threat. I've got a feeling Buck Rodgers will be a key wicket, followed by Clarke, Warner and Haddin. Rodgers has the temperament to succeed in SA. Has a great technique, leaves well and won't be phased by the SA pace barrage. MC is pure class and Haddin is in great form after putting the English fodder to the sword. Dave Warner is the type of bloke to do well too. It is one thing taking the decision to attack, you need the skill set to do it, and DW may have just these skills.

  • on February 10, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    Four frontline bowlers will work against teams like SL, Eng, India. But not with SA. Aussies will badly need a fifth bowling option against SA.

  • wanatawu on February 10, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    I think Marsh is very much underrated, I wouldn't be surprise if he does Phillip this time.

  • First_Drop on February 10, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    @ketihmillershair again - re: Hughes - couldn't agree more! Hughes was a very promosing youngster dropped at the wrong time by Hilditch et al at a time when he needed his confidence built up. By dropping him in 2009, they destroyed the young man's confidence, and he descended into a quagmire of self doubt. He's one of the best bats in Australia, but he needs the selectors to get behind him. We should've dropped Bailey after the 3rd test and replaced him with Hughes.

  • AMMAR3438668158 on February 10, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    WHAT A JOKE! is australia selectors play drama over selection.marsh in marsh out marsh in marsh out,i don't understand when we have already hughes and doolan why we select marsh.watson unfit but we have henriqus.i really confuse.

  • First_Drop on February 10, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    @Keithmillershair - you make a very good point. Not sure how Marsh got anywhere near the ODI and test teams and, as for 'mental toughness'...??

    Also, what a shame Faulkner is injured. What a talent he is.

  • Front-Foot_lunge on February 10, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    As an England fan, we recently crowed about our famous 'depth'. It seems now, that even as Australia debates including Marsh in their team, if he was English, a player of Marsh's quality would be considered captaincy material. SUrely this shows how wide the gulf is between the two teams now.

  • KeithMillersHair on February 10, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    @Yesgothim - I love the way you casually say that Marsh 'had a rough one against India'. His average across the four match series against India was 2.83! I'm not about to go out and say that Hughes' stats are all that flattering either... But... Hughes averages 5 more than Marsh in test matches, and 10 more than Marsh in first class cricket. Marsh is five years older than Hughes, but Hughes has played 21 more first class matches than Marsh, and scored over 3600 MORE first class runs than Marsh has. Marsh hasn't played as many matches because often he doesn't make the state team. I really don't understand where you are getting this image of Marsh being 'mentally tough' and 'street fighter'.

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Marsh should not be anywhere near the test team. There is no possible way you can make a case to select him to face the best attack in the world. The poster who mentioned that Marsh has guts may very well be right, but he struggles at First Class level much less at test level against quality bowlers. Guts alone is not going to help him make runs when the chips are down.

  • swauzzie on February 10, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    Not a S Marsh fan at all. Was a G Marsh fan. I hope that being a Marsh will be enough for him 'cause I think he'll be playing the 1st test. For Australias sake I hope he has as good a tour as he had in SL. @KeithMillersHair I think you're on the right track about the no 7 spot. Johnson is the only sound choice they have at the moment. BUT still with the Aussie batting lineup the way it's been, I think they're better off sticking with 4 bowlers & having an extra batsmen instead of choosing someone like Henriques whom is neither a good batsman or bowler. I really really hope the Aussies can knock the Saffers off their perch & not allow them to play out their "draw" or Faf mentality cricket!

  • Yesgothim on February 10, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I cannot believe some noofers here are wanting to put Hughes at 3. How many chances does this chump get? Steyn to Hughes short ball outside off stump, cut straight to point, out caught again. Marsh has a big series against Sri Lanka, then has a rough one against India, gets dropped and you call him soft, fair enough but he has the mental toughness an technique which is what we need at 3, a street fighter with some balls, not the prictable Hughes or L platers like Doolan or Maddison. We tried that with a young Usman and it didn't work. Give Doolan 6 where he can muck about with Smith and Haddin.

  • Bockee on February 10, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    Once again: there is NO WAY that Shaun Marsh should be anywhere near the test team, full stop.

  • on February 10, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Marsh can play the 1st test considering his current form.A good show in ODI series against England and an excellent innings in the BBL03 finals certainly speaks it.

  • mike_b on February 10, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    It is just SO difficult to understand the selection of Marsh for this tour. Surely even players like Chris Lynn are ahead of him. I am not suggesting it has anything to do with who his father is BUT I have heard it said more than once during pub talk. There seems to be an inconsistency in applied selection criteria and players trying to crack the test team have a right to feel confused and bewildered. My understanding is that Marsh has averaged around 25 in 1st class cricket since he was dropped following his Indian series debacle. I wonder how players like David Hussey and Brad Hodge manage to restrain themselves from hurling abuse at CA. They're both batsmen of considerably greater calibre than Marsh that were not afforded half the chances. In my eyes, even if Marsh kills 'em in SA it still won't justify his selection.

  • Barnesy4444 on February 10, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    What a joke. Marsh should be lining up for WA's next Shield game, not facing Steyn, Philander and Morkel. He's a soft dead weight.

    Hughes 3, Doolan 6. Simple.

  • drfarnsworth on February 10, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    If they are going to play Marsh and Doolan then they should send Hughes back to Australia straight away so he can continue playing competitive cricket instead of running drinks for the series. It's bad enough not to pick him, but worse to let him sit around all day when the Redbacks need him.

  • KeithMillersHair on February 10, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    I think picking Marsh is madness. But the more I tell everyone how crazy his selection would be, the more I get the feeling that he will go on to dominate the series, just to spite me. Call it sympathetic magic. Seriously though, I think Hughes needs to be at number three. They should have picked him from the start. And I think the fact that they worried about picking him now is a reflection of the fact that the selectors know that they have made so many mistakes with him in the past. (by which I mean they have been guilty of both dropping Hughes when he shouldn't have been dropped, as well as picking Hughes when he shouldn't have been picked). As far as the all-rounder question goes, my feeling is that with the available squad, IF they decide they need the extra seamer (and it is a big IF) then they should put Johnson at 7 and pick Patto, Siddle, Harris and Lyon as the tail. I'm not actually saying they SHOULD do this - but they can all bat pretty well, so it wouldn't be outrageous.

  • AcPradeep42 on February 10, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    God sake couldn't except dollies from south africa whatsoever

  • goldeneraaus on February 10, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Though Hughes is a more prolific run scorer he is more of an opener and love him or hate him he will probably get first crack when Rogers calls it quits. Given the spot is in the middle order it makes sense to give it to Marsh, rather than mess Hughes around in a position he is not really accustomed to despite some experience there. Now Marsh shouldn't have been selected at all, based on conventional wisdom but the selectors are obviously making a hunch on information not readily available to the public and given the circumstances it should be no surprise to see Marsh in the top 6. That neither him and to a lesser extent Doolan really deserve to be there is another issue, they've been selected first and whatever logic the selectors are using (not form and runs obviously) leaves them with no choice but to play the both of them, best of luck to them though I hope they prove me wrong.

  • Mitty2 on February 10, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    And Haddin, the Ashes hero with a phenomenal turnaround in his career and a great leader, you've sinned. My respect might have just lowered a little for Hads. Preferring Marsh over anyone and stating that explicitly is either an indication of extreme stupidity or being forced to say it by CA. I hope for Brad that it's the second.

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  • Mitty2 on February 10, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    And Haddin, the Ashes hero with a phenomenal turnaround in his career and a great leader, you've sinned. My respect might have just lowered a little for Hads. Preferring Marsh over anyone and stating that explicitly is either an indication of extreme stupidity or being forced to say it by CA. I hope for Brad that it's the second.

  • goldeneraaus on February 10, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Though Hughes is a more prolific run scorer he is more of an opener and love him or hate him he will probably get first crack when Rogers calls it quits. Given the spot is in the middle order it makes sense to give it to Marsh, rather than mess Hughes around in a position he is not really accustomed to despite some experience there. Now Marsh shouldn't have been selected at all, based on conventional wisdom but the selectors are obviously making a hunch on information not readily available to the public and given the circumstances it should be no surprise to see Marsh in the top 6. That neither him and to a lesser extent Doolan really deserve to be there is another issue, they've been selected first and whatever logic the selectors are using (not form and runs obviously) leaves them with no choice but to play the both of them, best of luck to them though I hope they prove me wrong.

  • AcPradeep42 on February 10, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    God sake couldn't except dollies from south africa whatsoever

  • KeithMillersHair on February 10, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    I think picking Marsh is madness. But the more I tell everyone how crazy his selection would be, the more I get the feeling that he will go on to dominate the series, just to spite me. Call it sympathetic magic. Seriously though, I think Hughes needs to be at number three. They should have picked him from the start. And I think the fact that they worried about picking him now is a reflection of the fact that the selectors know that they have made so many mistakes with him in the past. (by which I mean they have been guilty of both dropping Hughes when he shouldn't have been dropped, as well as picking Hughes when he shouldn't have been picked). As far as the all-rounder question goes, my feeling is that with the available squad, IF they decide they need the extra seamer (and it is a big IF) then they should put Johnson at 7 and pick Patto, Siddle, Harris and Lyon as the tail. I'm not actually saying they SHOULD do this - but they can all bat pretty well, so it wouldn't be outrageous.

  • drfarnsworth on February 10, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    If they are going to play Marsh and Doolan then they should send Hughes back to Australia straight away so he can continue playing competitive cricket instead of running drinks for the series. It's bad enough not to pick him, but worse to let him sit around all day when the Redbacks need him.

  • Barnesy4444 on February 10, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    What a joke. Marsh should be lining up for WA's next Shield game, not facing Steyn, Philander and Morkel. He's a soft dead weight.

    Hughes 3, Doolan 6. Simple.

  • mike_b on February 10, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    It is just SO difficult to understand the selection of Marsh for this tour. Surely even players like Chris Lynn are ahead of him. I am not suggesting it has anything to do with who his father is BUT I have heard it said more than once during pub talk. There seems to be an inconsistency in applied selection criteria and players trying to crack the test team have a right to feel confused and bewildered. My understanding is that Marsh has averaged around 25 in 1st class cricket since he was dropped following his Indian series debacle. I wonder how players like David Hussey and Brad Hodge manage to restrain themselves from hurling abuse at CA. They're both batsmen of considerably greater calibre than Marsh that were not afforded half the chances. In my eyes, even if Marsh kills 'em in SA it still won't justify his selection.

  • on February 10, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    Marsh can play the 1st test considering his current form.A good show in ODI series against England and an excellent innings in the BBL03 finals certainly speaks it.

  • Bockee on February 10, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    Once again: there is NO WAY that Shaun Marsh should be anywhere near the test team, full stop.

  • Yesgothim on February 10, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    I cannot believe some noofers here are wanting to put Hughes at 3. How many chances does this chump get? Steyn to Hughes short ball outside off stump, cut straight to point, out caught again. Marsh has a big series against Sri Lanka, then has a rough one against India, gets dropped and you call him soft, fair enough but he has the mental toughness an technique which is what we need at 3, a street fighter with some balls, not the prictable Hughes or L platers like Doolan or Maddison. We tried that with a young Usman and it didn't work. Give Doolan 6 where he can muck about with Smith and Haddin.