Marsh should have risen in the Ashes

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    Australian cricketer Shaun Marsh bats during the second day of the second test cricket match. AP Photo/ Eranga Jayawardena

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    History is repeating itself, with the Australian Ashes squad announced yesterday leaving the most talented left-handed batsman at home for the biggest Test series on the calendar.

    A largely overlooked reason Australia lost the epic 2005 Ashes series is prolific run-scorer Mike Hussey wasn’t in the squad, as the selectors stuck with out-of-form Matthew Hayden, whose style and ability was completely unsuited for the English conditions – fast, lateral-moving ball.

    Had the selectors selected the best batsman for the job of opening, in Hussey, from the beginning of the series, Australia more than likely would have had a decent platform to score enough runs to win the series.

    Fast forward to 2013, and the selectors were faced with the very same conundrum. Persist with mediocre lefties in Ed Cowan and Usman Kawajha while re-engaging with another unproven and largely untested first-class veteran in Chris Rogers (to name a few), or add a bit of variety and class in dumping one of those bland ideas for our most skilled left-handed top order batsman in decades – Shaun Marsh.

    Sure Marsh’s Sheffield Shield form had been poor prior to finishing the season strong, but his technique and ability is not only superior to Hussey’s, it is arguably the greatest of any left-hander in the history of Australian cricket.

    The fact the selectors found no room for him in our squad of 16, which only has one world-class Test batsman in Michael Clarke, needs clarification.

    I’d imagine the selectors would argue Marsh has discipline and personal issues, combined with his sub-par form. However form is temporary and class is permanent and from what I’ve seen of Marsh, his struggles at Test level seemed to stem from being a victim of his own exquisite technique, which has often given him a false sense of security.

    Marsh’s technique is so well built he has the ability to defend any ball delivered, while also dispatching almost any type of delivery to or over the boundary and it was apparent he was well aware of this.

    Consequently, his shot selection suffered in the form of arrogantly trying to play every delivery, which meant bowlers were able to find his edge and have him caught behind square early in his inning.

    All Marsh has to do is slightly channel his less talented peers (Ed Cowan) and predecessors (Mark Taylor) and leave 60% of deliveries that are missing the stumps, especially early in his innings, and he will be well on the way to having Test career statistics that will rival Hussey and Hayden.

    What must also not be discounted in Marsh’s omission is that it may not be just be due to the non-player selectors, but due to him not fitting within the playing group.

    If true, this is a failure of captain Michael Clarke and the so-called high performance unit for not creating an environment that gets the absolute best out of Marsh.

    In previous years it was acceptable for selectors to dump Test batsmen like Ricky Ponting, Greg Blewett, Darren Lehmann, Michael Bevan, Martin Love and Brad Hodge to find form in domestic cricket as there was a plethora of world class batsmen waiting in the wings.

    Now we are forced to persist with batsmen who cannot average above 40 batting to the best of their ability.

    Surely in these times, Marsh is worth persisting with for a year to see if he can find form and play to his potential on the stage he deserves.

    Worst case scenario he performs at the same level as the current crop, best case scenario he averages above 50 and plays a pivotal role in Australia winning the Ashes this year.

    Marsh’s omission is a disgrace for all involved and we can only hope the England bowling attack continues its recent blunt form and allows our squad to post enough runs to win the Ashes.

    But I fear we will be channelling 2005 when we were in desperate need of having Hussey ready and available to replace Hayden, or in this case the entire batting line-up excluding Clarke, and save us from losing the Ashes.

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    The Crowd Says (63)

    • April 25th 2013 @ 5:50am
      lolly said | April 25th 2013 @ 5:50am | ! Report

      Shaun Marsh averages 35 in first class cricket. 35.

      • April 25th 2013 @ 8:03am
        Praveen said | April 25th 2013 @ 8:03am | ! Report

        Glad that the author of this article Is not a selector, no doubting Marsh’s talent in the shorter format but for you to say that khawaja is a mediocre player shows your lack of knowldge, we pick on the basis of shield form not on who looks good or who has te most connections, Marsh did not do enough to warrant selection but I hope he scores heavily in shield next season to warrant his selection

        • April 25th 2013 @ 12:01pm
          Amith said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          Well said Praveen, like you i won’t talk Marsh down as he is one of my favorite T20 players, but he didn’t deserve a test spot, very glad to see Khawaja there and also good to see Rogers get his shot.

          • April 25th 2013 @ 4:18pm
            zenboomerang said | April 25th 2013 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

            Agree, the article is more of a love-in for Marsh fans… Marsh had 1 good series against SL against average seamers, then completely failed at home against the weakest seam attack from India & failed to make runs… Marshs FC record is poor @35 with s.r.@46 compared to Andrew McDonald with bat @39 with s.r.@60 yet AB is an allrounder – says it all really…

            Given that Cowan is seen by some as a plodder with the bat, Ed has a better strike rate & average in both Tests & FC – add to that is Khawaja, Smith, Hughes all have much better s.r.’s & averages in Shield with a much better season – actually Doolan & Silk look much better prospects than Marsh in the longer formats…

          • April 25th 2013 @ 7:48pm
            Rob Barrow said | April 25th 2013 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

            Well said Praveen

      • April 25th 2013 @ 9:50am
        DH said | April 25th 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Khawaja averages 42 in FC. 42. Cowan averages 39 in FC. 39. None of them average above 35 in tests.

        • April 25th 2013 @ 10:20am
          Red Kev said | April 25th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          Well at least DH is an appropriate name for you.

          • April 25th 2013 @ 12:06pm
            Lancey5times said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            Marvelous

        • April 25th 2013 @ 12:02pm
          Amith said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          DH Khawaja has had at any one time had 1-2 games at a time with 6 games in total. Marsh had a full series against India and he failed badly. Give Khawaja a full series and we will have a long term test star on our hands. This year his innings were all scored on tough green batting tracks showing he is the guy needed to bat on the swing tracks we will get in UK. And this year Marsh averaged 19 in shield, Khawjaa 40, do you want me to keep going.

          • April 25th 2013 @ 7:53pm
            Rob Barrow said | April 25th 2013 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

            Amith i think you have made a fair point, this article is well off the facts and i wouldn’t waste my time on it. Marsh is a very good player no doubt about it, but to put other young players down who are equally as talented is not the way to go, I predict a big ashes seris for UTK.

        • April 25th 2013 @ 12:05pm
          Justin2 said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          I’d suggest 35.77 is correct. Even if that incued his tests it bounces all the way to 36.59.

          The guys has proven diddly farking squat at anything other than pajama cricket

        • April 30th 2013 @ 6:21am
          Bearfax said | April 30th 2013 @ 6:21am | ! Report

          Two points DH. Khawaja’s test average statistically is not valid because he has had too few test innings. It really shows little of his potential.. Cowan’s on the other hand is now sufficient to consider as getting close to being consistent with what is to be expected of him.

          The first class averages again are a little deceptive though valid. However given Khawaja had a very poor 2011-12 season his average dropped from about 45-46 in FC to 42 at present. Cowan’ on the other hand had a very good 2011-12 season and his average rose from about 35 to 39-40. So what you are seeing is Cowan’s high end average and Khawaja’s low end.

          Further Cowan is 30 and generally by that age you reach close to your best average. Khawaja is 26 and has a few years of developing and one can expect him to reach a higher medium average. I would expect Cowan to pan out at about 37 for FC and slightly less for tests. I would expect Khawaja to reach anywhere between high 40s to low 50s for FC and for tests, slightly lower when he reaches his peak. I suspect Cowan is about 15 runs poorer in potential average to Khawaja. But that’s just measured guessing I suppose based on what seems to happen to most batsmen.

      • Roar Guru

        April 30th 2013 @ 1:25am
        Harsh Sinha said | April 30th 2013 @ 1:25am | ! Report

        He is not the right man for Ashes!

    • April 25th 2013 @ 6:56am
      Matt F said | April 25th 2013 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Shouldn’t their be a little “HA” symbol next to this article, Roar overlords?

    • April 25th 2013 @ 7:03am
      brother mouzone said | April 25th 2013 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      technique and ability the greatest of any left hander in Australian cricket?

      it’s a little late for april 1 articles

    • April 25th 2013 @ 8:00am
      Felix said | April 25th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      DH with all due respect to an opinion article, this is so far off the mark it’s not funny.

      Marsh’s strike rate in test cricket is 40 which is bordering on criminally slow, so your theory about him taking more time doesn’t hold up.

      Secondly, Marsh’s technique though technically sound is far from the best in the country. If he can’t score off Shield bowlers I’m not putting any faith in him defending Jimmy Anderson. Oh but that’s right, it’s because he’s TOO good that he gets out caught in the slips. Interestingly he has been given out bowled or LBW 6/11 times. That’d suggest his technique isn’t up to keeping balls out, let alone dispatching them to the fence or getting close enough to get an edge on it.

      • April 25th 2013 @ 11:19am
        DH said | April 25th 2013 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        Khawaja and Cowan have the same strike rate but we are talking a small sample size. At least Marsh has shown an ability to destroy bowling attacks in shorter forms of the game.
        Agree that he also has an LBW problem, most likely from poor front foot planting, but this obviously can be improved with hard work. Every batsman has weaknesses, at least you can isolate Marsh’s to being just a couple technically, if he can improve those two aspects of his game he won’t be far off replicating Hussey’s career soon.
        As for Khawaja and Cowan, well I think they are playing to their potential at Test level.
        And I’m pretty sure if you asked England who out of those three would they least like to bowl to in the Ashes their answer would be Marsh.

        • April 25th 2013 @ 12:05pm
          Amith said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          No one doubts Marsh’s ability in the T20 format, but stop confusing that with test success. Lets hope he gets shield runs next year and my guess is that he will under Langer’s guidance who is a good coach. And how exactly are you comparing Cowan and Khawaja, Cowan has had nearly 20 games in a row, Khawjaa has been on the bench since November waiting for his turn so how exactly is Khawaja playing to his potential at test level when he hasn’t played a game, stop bringing UTK into this conversation because its just not helping your case.

          • April 25th 2013 @ 12:45pm
            DH said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

            Warner was basically picked from T20, then converted to ODI, then converted to Test. Why not Marsh?

            • April 26th 2013 @ 2:53pm
              formeropenside said | April 26th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

              The answer is The Big Show – also converted himself the same way. Without the same success.

              The better question, which remains unaswered, is “why Marsh?”

            • Roar Guru

              April 30th 2013 @ 1:28am
              Harsh Sinha said | April 30th 2013 @ 1:28am | ! Report

              Maybe because of the focus and determination in Warner is much more than Shaun!

          • April 25th 2013 @ 2:20pm
            Disco said | April 25th 2013 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            Langer, a good coach?!

        • April 25th 2013 @ 12:19pm
          Lancey5times said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          ‘an ability to destroy bowling attacks in shorter forms of the game. Agree that he also has an LBW problem, most likely from poor front foot planting,’ . Sound like someone else you know that has taken up some space on this site? Neither are a savour at test level.

          This article is David Lord like in its absurdity. Is there a Roar Awards nights each year? If so, I’d go rent a tux son. You’re a red hot chance

    • April 25th 2013 @ 8:23am
      Lukeling said | April 25th 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      “unproven and largely untested first-class veteran in Chris Rogers ” ummm yeah he has done nothing……maybe you should check out his stats. To me Rogers is one of the best selections this NSP has made.

      • April 25th 2013 @ 11:29am
        DH said | April 25th 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        Didn’t say Rogers has done nothing, was referring to Test level.
        I agree that his selection is a good one, but leaving Marsh out isn’t.

        • April 25th 2013 @ 12:08pm
          Justin2 said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          so why did you refer to his 1st class record? Marsh is unproven at fc and test level and succesful in neither also. He can only dream of Rogers record, end of story.

          • April 25th 2013 @ 12:15pm
            Amith said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

            Rogers and Khawaja were the right inclusions in the squad, I heard rumours of Marsh getting in and was completely lost for words on hearing it, good to see the NSP picked on basis of merit and runs.

          • April 25th 2013 @ 12:40pm
            DH said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

            Um I didn’t refer to his 1st class record. Marsh has had seasons where he dominated at FC level but has fallen away due to a combination of injury and disciplinary reasons. What are CA doing to get the most out of his talent? Because if they can get Marsh firing we have a ready made replacement for Hussey.
            If you’re happy plodding along with Cowan and Khawaja while looking at a temporary fix in Rogers fine – enjoy mediocrity!

            • April 25th 2013 @ 12:54pm
              Justin2 said | April 25th 2013 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

              Usi has barely been tried and is a superior payer to your hero…. the greatest technical left hand…job.

              • April 25th 2013 @ 1:13pm
                DH said | April 25th 2013 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                hahaha – that’s a fair whack!

        • Roar Guru

          April 30th 2013 @ 1:40am
          Harsh Sinha said | April 30th 2013 @ 1:40am | ! Report

          leaving him out is pretty good! You will see Warner’s heroics pretty soon in England!

    • April 25th 2013 @ 9:02am
      Whiteline said | April 25th 2013 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      7 first class centuries – maybe 8….been playing for well over a decade. Sorry

      • Roar Guru

        April 30th 2013 @ 1:44am
        Harsh Sinha said | April 30th 2013 @ 1:44am | ! Report

        Irrespective of his first class performance, he would have failed to make a mark in England.

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