Australia v England, 3rd ODI, Sydney January 22, 2011

Overlooked Shaun Marsh takes his chance

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Australia's selectors have had a difficult summer and they were made to look foolish again when Shaun Marsh hit 110 against England two days after being left out of the World Cup squad. He may yet make the trip because Michael Hussey, the man he has replaced for this series, remains a major doubt due to his hamstring injury.

Marsh made a strong case that he should have been there by right, but his hopes of making the 15-man World Cup party weren't helped with the selectors able to select Tim Paine as a reserve keeper-batsman. Given Australia's batting woes this season, it's difficult to think why Marsh isn't playing a part across all formats. Mickey Arthur, his coach at Western Australia, rates him as talented as any batsman he has coached, although a first-class average 37.97, lower than his ODI mark, doesn't do him any favours

But even though his route to the subcontinent next month rests on the fortunes of others he isn't dwelling on being overlooked. "I'm never one to worry about selections," he said after Australia's 46-run win in Hobart. "I was disappointed not to get picked, but I see these games as an opportunity to improve my game at international level. It's given me a lot of confidence. I'm sure the guys who go over will do a great job."

England were due to face Marsh when they played Australia A, also at Hobart, in November but he pulled out due to injury. Andrew Strauss said they would need to come up with some new ideas. "He had a nice mix of getting ones and hitting boundaries," he said. "He's a player in good form and we'll have to look at how we could have done things differently."

By trade Marsh is opener, like his father Geoff, but his immediate chances for Australia appear to be in the middle order and he showed his adaptability in Hobart when he came in at No. 6 with the score 4 for 33. He added 100 with Cameron White then an unexpected 88 with Doug Bollinger for the ninth wicket to give Australia a defendable total.

"It was just a great opportunity for me," he said. "Huss going down was very unfortunate but it gave me my chance. It didn't matter where I batted for Australia, I just wanted to play. It's obviously different to opening but I knew once I got myself in, and started feeling good, I could play some shots. It was a lot of fun out there especially with Dougie at the end. We got our team to a competitive total and defended it well."

Marsh had plenty of praise for his unlikely tail-end partner. Bollinger had only batted four times in his previous 27 ODIs with a top score of three, but unfurled two cover drives during his run-a-ball 30. "Dougie was loving it out there," Marsh said. "It was a lot of fun. I was trying to tell him to rotate the strike and keep the ball on the ground. He played some wonderful shots, it was fantastic the way he went about it. Without him we probably wouldn't have got to 200."

Although Marsh is unlikely to break the opening combination of Shane Watson and Brad Haddin, Michael Clarke made it fairly clear that he wants to make use of Marsh's impressive form by using him higher up the order. "Shaun will definitely be playing in the next three games," Clarke said. "It's unlikely he'll be batting at No.6 as well, especially when he's hitting the ball as sweet as he is. He's in wonderful nick at the moment. He's certainly going to get opportunities if he plays like that."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VivGilchrist on January 23, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Let's be sensible and win the world cup shall we? Watson Haddin Hodge Marsh White Ferguson Christian OKeefe Lee Bollinger Nannes. Thankyou and Goodnight.

  • dummy4fb on January 23, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    jobke i am with you on your team. With hauritz unfit i bring in o'keefe, if tait is out i bring in nannes before siddle. I agree hodge, christian and marsh should be in this world cup team. To think the selectors are going to go with siddle if tait is injured is a joke, siddle just got smashed with no wickets in recent 20/20 and has showed me nothing in the shorter form of the game.

  • dummy4fb on January 23, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    best odi team 1. watson 2. marsh 3. haddin (wk) 4. clarke (c) 5. white 6. ferguson 7. smith 8. o'keefe 9. siddle 10. pattinson 11. bollinger

  • Number1CricketFan on January 23, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    why the heck is this guy not in the world cup squad, he is pure class.

  • kellhound on January 22, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    I understand why people are saying to drop Clarke, but I've seen that a change of captain during a series always hurts the side that makes it, even if forced by injury. As for why Haddin is opening (reply to jobke), he tends to bat in the 'over the top' style and they choose to take advantage of the power plays. Marsh is a brilliantly, technically correct batsmen who tends to go more along the ground, at least in the first half of his innings. My suggestion would be, with the current team, to bat Marsh at 4 and move Clarke to 5 or 6 depending on the circumstances - if acceleration is needed, White comes in before him; if consolidation is needed, use Clarke as this can also give hime time in the middle to recover form. Clarke in the first match, while a bit scratchy, was far better and I believe was on the road to recovery (not a one-game process btw), and he wasn't the only batsmen to fail on Friday - Marsh played an exceptional innings that game on a fairly difficult track.

  • dummy4fb on January 22, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    We heard a lot about professionalism in australian cricket i.e. player rotation, only players who can perform included in the side but from past one year, it is not happening bcz ponting and clarke are still playing...........i m sure ponting carrer will end just like Indian Legend Saurav ganguly..

  • dummy4fb on January 22, 2011, 19:28 GMT

    ................I think selectors should look on positive side of side Shaun Marsh,......instead of judging him with his first class average, they should also take care of the fact that world cup is in the subcontinent and he performed well in Indian Premier League,.........he can be the choice for australia.

  • dummy4fb on January 22, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    Hopefully the selectors wont do what they did to Brad Hodge to Shaun Marsh, we can't afford that

  • Ozcricketwriter on January 22, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Shaun Marsh doing well just highlights that we have the wrong World Cup squad. If nothing else, we have no specialist openers. It should have been a question of Shaun Marsh or David Warner, with a theory for possibly both, but certainly not neither. But if you think that that is bad, then what about the decision to exclude both Brad Hodge and Dan Christian, the two best players in Australia in ODIs? How absurd is that? The one hope for us is injuries. Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke are both carrying injuries and with any luck they'll realise that Australia is better off with Hodge and Christian and they can just claim to have succumbed to injury. Nathan Hauritz was probably a 50/50 choice between him and Doherty so his injury won't hurt Australia at all. And, while Michael Hussey is one of our stars, at least now we get a proper opener. Can Marsh open the batting though, please? It pains me to see Brad Haddin opening.

  • dummy4fb on January 22, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Two wicket keepers for a WC? They have lost it.

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