I’ll be frank. I’m not a Shaun Marsh fan.
Over the last few years his selection has been a puzzle to me and I have been happy to engage in a bit of banter, or as some Roarers see it, petty jibes, when his name comes up.
We all have our favourite players, and all have players we don’t rate. I know Shaun Marsh has his fans. Some look at his batting and see talent and class. I don’t.
I could go into the list of things I see, and they have been played out on the pages of The Roar time and again; the shuffling and wafting outside off stump, the repeated opportunities after apparently doing little to earn them, and so on and so forth. But here’s the real reason.
I just don’t enjoy watching him bat. I’ve thought about it, and that’s what I come up with.
He reminds me of Damien Martyn. There was another player that others looked at and saw elegance and style. I was wishing Stuart Law was in the team instead. I don’t think Law was a better batsman, but I preferred watching him. Some players, to my eye, are just better to watch.
So when Shaun Marsh was named for the third Test against Sri Lanka, in place of players that I actually enjoy watching at the crease, I couldn’t help myself. “Here we go” I thought. “If this guy’s the answer to our batting woes, I’ll eat my hat”.
Now in the defence of Marsh he had given the selectors reason to pick him. His recent Test form has been good and his previous trips to Sri Lanka have resulted in good runs. He had given himself a shot at it.
And didn’t he take it? The first Aussie batsman to score a ton this series. His 130, and his double century-stand with skipper Steve Smith, turned the Test from Sri Lanka’s way to an even contest.
Now I’m trying not to listen to the voice in the back of my head about lucky dropped catches, or one good innings followed by a drought, or a flat pitch, or Rangana Herath being off injured for some of the session.
Let’s not downplay the achievement with a string of qualifiers.
Australia needed someone to stand up with the bat, and Shaun Marsh did just that. I’m glad I am reading The Roar’s blog rather than watching, but nevertheless well done S Marsh. My hat’s off to you.
Er… can someone pass the salt?