'Those memories will last forever' - Shaun Marsh retires from first-class cricket
Western Australia veteran calls time after 22 years of Shield cricket and 38 Tests for Australia
Shaun Marsh has retired from first-class cricket after 22 years of service for Western Australia at Sheffield Shield level, and 38 Test matches for Australia.
Marsh made his first-class debut at the age of 17 for WA in 2001, and achieved a career-long ambition to win a Sheffield Shield title last season where he captained in the final in the absence of his brother Mitchell Marsh.
At 39, Marsh decided to play another season in 2022-23, but he has been plagued by injury and has only managed one Shield game this summer.
Having just returned to Perth club cricket after a fractured finger, Marsh's retirement is effective immediately, meaning he won't be part of WA's bid to defend their title. They play Victoria at the WACA next week before hosting the final starting on March 23.
"This year in particular has been really hard," Marsh told reporters. "It wasn't the way I planned it after winning the Shield final last year.
"I had great expectations of myself to win another Shield but through injuries it hasn't worked out how I wanted it to."
Marsh finishes as WA's third-highest run scorer in the Shield, tallying 8347 runs including 20 centuries. His 122 matches is the second-most in WA's history behind former captain Tom Moody.
But at a training session on Tuesday, he realised his indefatigable first-class career was over.
"I batted for about 20 minutes and the quicks came over...I said to V [WA coach Adam Voges] that I'm done and want to do my weights [session]," Marsh said. "I probably did half my weights [session]. I walked out and thought, 'that's not me'. Over the last 24 hours it hit home that my time is done.
"It's been an amazing journey, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd be here for 22 years and that's something that I'm very proud of."
Marsh paid special tribute to his father Geoff Marsh, a former Test opener and coach for Australia.
"That's where I found the love of the game as a young kid when I was watching dad play," he said. "From a young age all I wanted to do was be like him and he's had a massive impact on my career."
Long touted as a Test star, having struck his maiden first-class ton as a 19-year-old against a strong New South Wales side featuring Steve and Mark Waugh, Marsh enjoyed a spectacular debut in 2011 with a century against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
He loomed as Ricky Ponting's natural successor at No. 3 but suffered a calamitous form slump against India at home in 2011-12, where he scored just 17 runs in six innings.
Inconsistency and injuries became a bane for the left-handed Marsh, whose stylish batting marked by elegant cover drives ensured he continued to tempt the national selectors.
But he was an enigma at the crease and, similarly to younger sibling Mitchell, suffered wrath from fans left frustrated by the gulf of his performances.
Marsh's highest Test score of 182 was made against West Indies in Hobart in 2015, where he combined in a 449-run fourth wicket stand with Voges. It remains the second-highest partnership in Australia's Test history.
His Test pinnacle was arguably during the 2017-18 Ashes series, where he struck centuries in Adelaide and Sydney. At the SCG, Marsh memorably shared a 169-run partnership with Mitchell, who also scored a ton. It was the last of his six centuries, but he played a further 10 Tests over the next two years.
"Any time you get to represent your country...those memories will last forever," he said.
Marsh finished with 2265 Test runs at an average of 34.31, playing his last Test in January 2019 against India after providing a veteran presence following the sandpaper scandal. He has enjoyed enjoyed more success in ODI cricket with an average of 40.77 from 73 matches and seven centuries.
Marsh, who turns 40 in July, is set to continue in the BBL. He has one season left on his deal with Melbourne Renegades.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth