Mitchell Marsh should play in Perth

David Holden Roar Guru

By David Holden, David Holden is a Roar Guru

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    To be honest, I never thought I would write this, but now it all makes sense.

    Spinning all-rounders like Glenn Maxwell need to be considered for the last two Test matches of the series, but for the last game at the WACA Mitchell Marsh should be in the XI.

    There are a number of reasons for this. First, despite all the talk around hopes for a traditional WACA wicket, the likelihood is that it will closely resemble the batting paradises over the past two seasons.

    The last two Test matches at the WACA have yielded three innings in excess of 500, including 624 for New Zealand in the 2015-16 season and 8/540 for South Africa last season.

    Both of these scores took more than 150 overs to compile, so going to the WACA with just four recognised bowlers and a captain who doesn’t want to bowl much is too great a risk.

    Second, spinners tend to struggle more at the WACA. Nathan Lyon has mediocre form there, taking 12 wickets over four Tests at an average of 50.33 with a strike rate of a wicket every 80 balls.

    While Lyon is obviously in career-best form at the moment and could turn them square on my old high school concrete pitch, it would be too much to expect him to hold down an end in Perth to give the quick bowlers a rest.

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Third, if we want an all-rounder with pace, who do we choose? Going off current Sheffield Shield form Marcus Stoinis and Moises Henriques have had quiet starts to the summer, with no half-centuries between them and averages of 25 and 15 respectively. Mitchell Marsh, on the other hand, has scored 402 runs at an average of 45.

    Importantly, at the WACA in November this season he has scored a 95 and a 141. His Test match batting average over his 21 Tests is sub-par and his WACA Test average is just as bad, but he is in form at the moment at his home ground. If he can somehow channel the focus that brother Shaun Marsh demonstrated at Adelaide Oval when he was under pressure at the start of his innings, he will do just fine.

    If Mitchell Marsh comes in, who goes? Unfortunately it needs to be Peter Handscomb, who is obviously out of form. Worse still, England’s bowlers have worked out a plan for him. Handscomb is too good to stay out of the side for long, but he does need work on his lack of front foot technique.

    If you look at the likely batting line up for Perth, with the exception of Cameron Bancroft it does have a back-to-the-future look about it, but it’s the best fit for this Test.

    And that is the key – it’s for this Test. Glenn Maxwell’s form of late must make him a strong contender for the all-rounder spot at the MCG and SCG, and it’s clear that his improvement in batting temperament has him very close to a recall.

    Mitchell Marsh needs to play the Perth Test match, but if he doesn’t perform, the inclusion of Maxwell for the final two Tests would seem the most likely outcome.

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    The Crowd Says (25)

    • December 10th 2017 @ 6:58am
      Andrew said | December 10th 2017 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      So horses for courses we pick MM for one Test then swap to Maxi for the last two? Why not Maxi for all three since he is better with the bat? If the WACA is supposed to be so dry that 120+ overs need to be bowled per innings then MM has not bowled enough overs post surgery to not be a huge risk/liability. He’s simply not ready and needs to be given another half dozen games of bowling before being looked at for selection.

    • December 10th 2017 @ 9:15am
      Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | December 10th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      Maxwell will just be bowling nude balls on a WACA pitch which offers little in the way of spin. I can’t see him posing any threat to the English batsmen. Mitch Marsh on the other hand offers a bit more with his fast mediums and is a local so he may find ways to take a couple of wickets. If I was Smith I’d give him a short 3 or 4 over spell from time to time to give the other bowlers a rest and not risk injury to Marsh. I like the approach of picking horses for courses but wonder whether the selectors would be prepared to drop Mitch Marsh if the Aussies win in Perth and give Maxwell an opportunity in Melbourne and Sydney. The selectors have a history of not changing a winning team unless they really have to. I reckon Maxwell would be a much better proposition as a batsman in Melbourne and Sydney plus his off spinners would be more useful on a turning SCG deck.

    • December 10th 2017 @ 9:18am
      scottyridge said | December 10th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      This article doesn’t make much sense to me. Mitchell Marsh has just started bowling again. So he is not bowling fit. Needs a few games bowling.

      How many overs will he bowl in an inning? 10?
      How many wickets will he take? Maybe 1?
      How many runs will he make? 20?

      What is the point? Is he still being picked on potential? He is not bowling fit. He is not a top 6 test batsmen. And I and most cricket observers doubt he ever will be.

      He is a Chris Woakes type player. 4th seamer. Number 8 batsman. Excellent in 50 overs and 20/20. He won’t bat at 7 as we don’t have a wk to bat at six. Gilchrist rarely batted at 6 and he was the best of them all.

      So why don’t we just keep him playing 50 overs and 20/20 cricket. He is fantastic at it.
      If he has a couple of seasons scoring multiple big hundreds. Or taking a bag full of wickets. Then pick him for tests. He doesn’t deserve it on current form.

      But then again Tim Paine didn’t deserve to be picked in tests. Sean Marsh didn’t either. And Glenn Maxwell can’t do anymore to earn selection. So by this selection theory Mitchell Marsh will play the next test.

      • December 10th 2017 @ 11:38am
        George said | December 10th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        Woakes is a far better bowler.

    • December 10th 2017 @ 9:54am
      paul said | December 10th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      There is little logic to your argument MM should be picked. You are doing exactly what the selectors are doing – looking for problems that may or may not exist.

      Here are a whole bunch of reasons why he should not be picked;

      The pitch MIGHT be a road – this means Australia might have to bowl a lot of overs. This also means we should only have to bowl once and if Smith continues to manage his attack as well as he has in the first two Tests, this should not create any injury problems

      MM comes into the side as a fifth bowler – this is not a good idea for a few reasons. He has not even bowled 30 overs in first-class cricket, so bringing him back MIGHT aggravate his injury from which he has supposedly recovered. He has also shown little form in the games he has bowled, going for more than 4 an over. This means he is little use as a fifth bowler, whose main task is to spell the other quicks and not go for too many runs. The other issue is Smith’s mindset about fifth bowlers. He has shown little faith in guys supposedly chosen for their bowling ability and MM would be treated the same way.

      We don’t need a fifth bowler, we need a batsman – our attack has managed to take all 40 English wickets to date and on paper, our batting has done enough to win us games however, there have been occasions in 3 of the innings where our batting has either struggled or failed. The guys who have saved s so far are Cummins and Paine, who have supported Smith and Marsh really well. We need a batting lineup that will score runs against the English attack and if that means getting rid of Handscomb, so be it, but replace him with a batsman, not someone who averages less than Mitchell Starc.

      The current attack has not been overworked – their hardest day was a month ago in Brisbane and since then, none have bowled more than 20 overs and only Lyons has had spells more than 6 overs. These guys are right to go and don’t need the supposed support Marsh might provide.

      The worst case scenario in this Test is a loss because we didn’t make as many runs as the Poms. That’s not likely but is certainly possible and MM is not going to be much of a contributor in that scenario, which is why we need a batsman rather than a guy who has a tail enders average and is unproven as a quality bowling option.

    • December 10th 2017 @ 12:24pm
      GD said | December 10th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

      If Marsh plays in Perth, there is no way he will be dropped for Melbourne. Nor should he be.
      If Maxwell only bowled a few overs in India there is no way Smith will bowl him to a point of any significance in Melb or Syd.
      I doubt Marsh would bowl more than 10 overs in an innings anyway because Smith doesnt seem to like bowling a 5th bowler.

      • December 10th 2017 @ 1:13pm
        paul said | December 10th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        exactly, so why pick him if it’s going to weaken the batting? I wonder if Jake Lehmann or Weatherald can bowl some fast medium?

    • December 10th 2017 @ 1:32pm
      Bearfax said | December 10th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

      Why change a team that’s winning, and winning comfortably? If a change is made, Maxi should come in, but who for? I’d leave the team as it is.

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