Picking Mitch Marsh over Maxwell is madness

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Australia’s batting is its major shortcoming in Tests, so it makes no sense to further weaken the top six by selecting tried-and-failed all-rounder Mitchell Marsh for the third Ashes Test this week.

    All-rounders typically are picked to enhance the balance of a cricket team, but in the case of Marsh, the effect is opposite. Given the supreme strength of Australia’s bowling attack, their fifth bowler need only be a modest performer capable of keeping things reasonably tight while the specialists rest.

    Unlike teams such as England, who rely heavily on a fifth bowler to help them take 20 wickets, Australia have shown they can win games handsomely with just four.

    Between Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, Australia have such firepower that the fifth bowler likely would only be required to send down a meagre six to eight overs per day. Marsh has delivered only eight overs per innings on average across his 21-Test career, and having just returned from a serious shoulder injury it seems improbable he would be asked to exceed that workload.

    A quota of eight overs per innings does not necessitate fielding a high-quality fifth bowler like Marsh. All that is needed is someone who has plenty of experience bowling in professional cricket, someone who isn’t a rank part-timer.

    It just so happens that this description fits a man who is dominating the Sheffield Shield with the bat and who was frightfully unlucky to be dropped for the first Ashes Test.

    (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

    Glenn Maxwell is not in the same league as Marsh with the ball, but he is a much, much more accomplished first-class batsman. Over the past two years, Marsh has made 943 runs at 26 in first-class cricket. In that same period, Maxwell has made 1,438 runs at 48.

    Those in favour of picking Marsh will point to the fact Maxwell averages 160 with the ball in the current Shield season. What’s more relevant is Maxwell’s impressive economy rate of 2.85 runs per over across the 56 overs he’s bowled for the Bushrangers.

    The role Maxwell has played with the ball for Victoria is exactly the one he could perform for Australia. Just like the national team, Victoria have a powerful frontline attack, with Chris Tremain, Scott Boland and Jon Holland each averaging between 18 and 24 with the ball this season. All they’ve asked of Maxwell is to chip in, sending down seven overs an innings on average while not allowing the pressure to be released.

    Victoria don’t need wickets out of Maxwell and nor would Australia. Both teams have frontline attacks that have no problem running through the opposition; the fifth bowler just helps keep those guys fresher.

    Similar to the way a nightwatchman’s main job is to protect specialist batsmen rather than to make runs, a fifth bowler’s role in such a potent attack is to ease the bowling load of the frontliners rather than to make breakthroughs.

    Australia cannot afford to weaken a batting line-up which has collapsed with alarming frequency in recent times. Despite cruising to a 2-0 scoreline in this Ashes, the side’s batting has been far from commanding.

    In the first dig at Brisbane, they were 4/76 before being rescued by Steve Smith. In the first innings at Adelaide, they were vulnerable at 5/209 when Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine put them back on track before they were then rolled for 138 batting a second time.

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Looking beyond the Ashes, Australia’s next series is in South Africa in less than three months from now against one of the greatest pace units ever assembled in Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel. The Proteas destroyed Australia’s batting line-up last summer despite missing Morkel and Steyn getting injured midway through the first Test.

    That South African bowling attack would be licking their lips if Australia were to arrive in their country with a number six in Mitch Marsh, who currently averages 21 with the bat in Tests.

    The presence of Marsh in the batting line-up would also ratchet up the pressure on new gloveman Tim Paine to make runs. Paine already has a stiff enough challenge to adapt to Tests having not played a great deal of first-class cricket in recent years, having struggled badly with the bat during those limited appearances. He doesn’t need to be given a greater batting burden.

    While I understand the concerns about Peter Handscomb’s form and the need for a fifth bowling option on an expected flat deck at Perth, Australia would be overcorrecting by picking Marsh. Australia have looked more balanced in his absence.

    If Australia feel they need to replace Handscomb with a batsman who is a reasonable bowler, then Maxwell is the obvious choice. Unfortunately the Victorian has been stiffed once more and Marsh appears set to be gifted another unjustified Test cap.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (263)

    • December 11th 2017 @ 6:30am
      GM said | December 11th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report


      • Roar Rookie

        December 11th 2017 @ 10:29am
        Bunney said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report


        More selectorial madness. Maxi scored a century @ 6 only three tests ago, yet still gets dropped. They tell him to go and score bucket-loads of runs in the Shield, which he is doing, and yet they bring in another guy.

        In fairness, the other guy is going alright, but not as well as Maxi.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 1:06pm
          Tony said | December 11th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          In fairness to the “selectorial madness” we’re 2 – 0 up in the series….

          • Roar Rookie

            December 11th 2017 @ 3:25pm
            Bunney said | December 11th 2017 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

            My frustration with selections goes back WAY beyond the start of this series…

    • December 11th 2017 @ 6:34am
      Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      Would you rather Maxwell or Marsh bowling at the WACA?

      And while Maxwell seems to be in batting form, so is Marsh. And to be fair, neither player has exactly excelled consistently at Test level.

      One last point – isn’t Marsh the incumbent all-rounder? Unlike Maxwell, who was dropped, Marsh only left the Test team due to injury, yes?

      • December 11th 2017 @ 6:44am
        Jameswm said | December 11th 2017 @ 6:44am | ! Report


        But I’d also rather have Maxwell batting there. You’re not suggesting their batting is line ball are you?

      • December 11th 2017 @ 6:46am
        jamesb said | December 11th 2017 @ 6:46am | ! Report

        He averages 21 with the bat from 21 tests. Even if he was injured or not, that’s not good enough. Actually it’s terrible.

        He should have a full season of shield cricket, and get some consistent form. Once he does that, then he can under consideration.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 7:55am
          Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

          Maxwell’s average is 26. Hardly an overwhelmingly strong case is it?

          • December 11th 2017 @ 8:01am
            jamesb said | December 11th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

            From just 7 tests, and all of them in the subcontinent is not a huge sample size and hasn’t played a test at home.

            • Columnist

              December 11th 2017 @ 12:21pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              Maxwell averaged 37 during his last Test stint, while Marsh averaged 12 during his last Test stint.

              Maxwell has never played a Test in Australia, while Marsh has played 9 Tests in Oz for a top score of 41 and an average of 21.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 1:36pm
                Rob said | December 11th 2017 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

                Exactly. I bet if you checked Maxwell’s performance with bat and ball in those Tests away from home he has done as well if not better than other more senior players. Mitchell has had 9 Tests to prove himself on home soil and has done next to nothing in any of them.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 2:57pm
                Buk said | December 11th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

                I agree with your logic, Ronan.
                The selectors logic seems to be ‘if we continue to pick Marsh and he gets a score, that will justify our having picked him in the past. If we pick Maxwell in Australia and he scores big, it will make us look stupid for not picking him in Australia earlier’.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 11th 2017 @ 7:08am
        El Loco said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        Due to injury, gimme a break. That was the injury that allowed him to quit before he got fired.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 7:52am
          Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

          He had surgery, so it was hardly an excuse…

          • Roar Rookie

            December 11th 2017 @ 8:07am
            El Loco said | December 11th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

            Not saying he didn’t have an injury, but the overwhelming feeling was he was about to be dropped.

            • December 11th 2017 @ 9:33am
              Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

              Maybe, but we’ll never know that for sure. And besides, there’s a reasonable argument that the injury contributed to any perceived drop off in form.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 11:25am
                Egbirt said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                Sorry I hadn’t noticed he ever had from in the tests arena

              • December 11th 2017 @ 3:30pm
                Mitcher said | December 11th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                He was injured for 21 Tests? Amazing revelation.

                He is statistically the worst no.6 in Test cricket history! All of it.

              • December 12th 2017 @ 1:06pm
                Don Freo said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                Give us the top 10. He wouldn’t be in the top 100 worst #6s in Test history.

                The only history there is your histrionics.

              • Columnist

                December 13th 2017 @ 12:36am
                Ronan O'Connell said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:36am | ! Report

                Mitcher is correct, MMarsh is statistically the worst number six in Test history (min. 20 Tests):


              • December 13th 2017 @ 1:13am
                Don Freo said | December 13th 2017 @ 1:13am | ! Report

                That qualifier might make a difference. There would be hundreds of #6s that never got to 20 tests because they were worse than Mitch.

                In the context of Mitcher’s claim, he is way off track.

        • Roar Guru

          December 11th 2017 @ 12:41pm
          Chris Kettlewell said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

          Yes, that’s pretty much it. He was at the point where everyone was saying he should be dropped, then he picked up an injury which saved the selectors the trouble.

      • December 11th 2017 @ 7:14am
        Andrew said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

        As Ronan said, we don’t need Marshs’ bowling to get 20 wickets. Our attack is one of the strongest we have ever had and having Marsh weakens our batting. Maxwells’ form should have had him as the incumbent infront of Shaun Marsh however, he was pushed back and told to make more consistent runs. Following that he’s peeled off a 200+ and fallen short on a 96 and why selectors want to push him back further is staggering.

        • Roar Guru

          December 11th 2017 @ 9:46am
          Cadfael said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Remember his 200 was scored against NSW and Starc, Hazelwood, Cummins and Lyon weren’t playing.

          • December 11th 2017 @ 9:54am
            Jarryd said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

            Abbott, copeland, bollinger and sok. Hardly a weak shield attack.

            • December 11th 2017 @ 10:09am
              jameswm said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

              All have played for Australia, and 3/4 have played tests I think

              • December 11th 2017 @ 10:49am
                qwetzen said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                And none of whom would have played for Aust if they weren’t card-carrying Blues. Saying that X played for Oz therefore he must be a good player is a non sequitur.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 11:04am
                George said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

                Are you suggesting they didn’t deserve their call-ups? Rubbish. Sustained Shield form got them there, belatedly so in SOK’s case.

              • December 12th 2017 @ 1:09pm
                Don Freo said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

                Only just true in SOK’s case. The other 3 are sound Shield players. Mennie, Neser, Boland types.

              • Roar Guru

                December 11th 2017 @ 12:47pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                Yep, nothing to do with the state they were from, as is basically always the case when that statement is made. But it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a top quality attack now.

                Dougie earned his Australian representation, but that was a long, long time ago now. He’s not the same bowler anymore. Still a hard trier, but a long way from the bowler he was when playing for Australia.

                Copeland was a bit like Sayers, dominated the Shield for a few years but the selectors didn’t like him because he was too slow. He’s the sort of bowler who can be devastating when the conditions are right (as seen by a 6-for earlier in the season), but can be cannon fodder in good batting conditions on a small ground like North Sydney oval.

                SOK is quality, and can be devastating in good spinning conditions, but outside of that doesn’t offer much.

                Overall, it’s an attack where they all have plenty to offer, but it massively weaker than the first choice attack that’s all in the Australian team.

              • Roar Guru

                December 11th 2017 @ 2:03pm
                The Bush said | December 11th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                Chris it is certainly not the Aussie attack, but it would still have to be one of the strongest FC bowling line ups anywhere in the world (i.e. when no regular test players are available). Surely only WA’s attack is better?

              • Columnist

                December 13th 2017 @ 12:42am
                Ronan O'Connell said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:42am | ! Report

                Ridiculous to try to downplay Maxwell’s 278 against NSW, whose attack was the 2nd strongest fielded by any State in that round of the Shield, behind only his own team Victoria.

                Might as well discount every Shield performance, every season, that doesn’t come against a NSW side including every single Test player.

            • December 11th 2017 @ 11:46am
              Johnno said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:46am | ! Report

              Maybe, but none of them are test quality bowlers now, they are average shield cricketers.

          • December 11th 2017 @ 1:43pm
            Rob said | December 11th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

            Maxwell faced as many deliveries as Smith did at the Gabba. That has always been Maxwell’s problem. You could make an argument that anyone of the NSW attack Maxwell batted against could make the English team?

      • December 11th 2017 @ 7:29am
        Mitcher said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        You can’t possibly have read the article and asked that question.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 8:01am
          Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

          Why not? Look at their Test averages – Marsh has a better bowling average, Maxwell has a better bowling average. But both are decidedly average in both areas.

          “Between Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, Australia have such firepower that the fifth bowler likely would only be required to send down a meagre six to eight overs per day.”

          On a balanced wicket (i.e. one that provides at least a little bit of substance for the bowlers) this might be a relevant comment.But Ronan doesn’t mention the WACA pitch at all in the article. Why not? So far this season it’s looked like a batsman’s paradise. I think it’s entirely possible a fifth bowling option will be a requirement. Hence my question – on a road like the WACA appears to be this season, would you rather Maxwell or Marsh as your fifth bowling option? I’m making the assumption Marsh is actually able to bowl enough for this to be a valid question of course…

          • December 11th 2017 @ 10:05am
            Perry Bridge said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

            Okay – look at their batting averages – but let’s do this with a little intelligence and context.

            7 tests all up across 3 separate ‘stints’.

            2 in Mar 2013 (in India) – batted #8, #8, #7 and then oddly enough opened (#2) – for a return of 13, 8, 10 & 8. How admissible in evidence are these to a discussion of a #6 batting all-rounder?

            1 in Oct 2014 (in Abu Dhabi) – Batted #4 and #3 for 37 (only Clarke 47 surpassed in the top 6 and ironically enough Mitch Marsh with 87 at #7 found an ally in Siddle 28 off 45 to score more in the innings). In the 2nd he was out for 4 (lbw – given not out but out on review, although perhaps an ‘umpires call’ might have saved him?). Ironically again – Mitch Marsh 47 in the 2nd with only Smith 97 and Warner 58 scoring more. Mitch Marsh’s high water point.

            To that point – 80 from 6 hits at 13.33 with a top score of 37.

            and 4 tests, 2 v India and 2 v Bangladesh – A century first up – 2 single digit failures, and then 45, 23, 14, 38 and 25*. 259 from 7 outs at avg 37. That’s batting positions 5, 6 and 7.

            And all matches off shore. So, 2 clear phases – the early phase 2013/14 (how admissible?) avg 13.33 and the current phase – this year, avg 37 from a larger sample size.

            Mitch Marsh – started okay –
            4 tests Oct-Dec 2014, 262 runs at 37.4 including his 87/47 double and followed with a pair of 40s v India in Adelaide.
            11 tests Jul-15 to Feb-16, 175 runs with 12 outs at 14.6 with a top of 34 and that batting #5, #6 with one #3 and one #7.
            6 tests Jul-16 to Mar-17, 237 runs at 19.75, with top of 53.

            Since that first stint way back in 2014 – he’s managed 412 runs in 17 tests, batting 20 times at #6, (twice at #7, 4 times at #5 and once at #3). Avg 17.17.

            Mitch Marsh has had so many chances – he’s had 9 home tests (avg 21.18), 10 away (avg 17.31) and ironically the 2 ‘neutral’ tests for an avg of 41. So – a test in Abu Dhabi – – first picked!!!

            The main reason to pick Marsh is the fear of a front line quick breaking down due to work loads. Why not rotation? We’ve done that in the past. Sayers could’ve played Adelaide, Bird could’ve come in for the WACA.

            The sad thing is – against this pop gun English attack at the WACA, Mitch Marsh – should he play will probably come out and look a million dollars at the wicket. Maybe he’s right to kick on now however his batting has previously been horribly exposed – how many tests does a guy get to prove himself? This is Shane Watson all over again – the ‘idea’ of an all-rounder who bowls a bit of medium-fast is soooo tantalising to selectors.

          • Columnist

            December 11th 2017 @ 12:23pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            “Ronan doesn’t mention the WACA pitch at all in the article.”


            • December 11th 2017 @ 2:45pm
              Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report


              • December 11th 2017 @ 3:03pm
                Buk said | December 11th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                ‘While I understand the concerns about Peter Handscomb’s form and the need for a fifth bowling option on an expected flat deck at Perth, Australia would be overcorrecting by picking Marsh.’
                (Ok he doesn’t call it the WACA, but that’s splitting technical hairs)

              • December 11th 2017 @ 3:21pm
                Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

                Oh yes, the briefest of briefest mentions – “an expected flat deck”.

                Hardly an in-depth discussion on which option (Marsh or Maxwell) would be better suited for the local conditions. For instance – if the next game was going to be at the MCG or SCG, one could argue that Maxwell could get the edge as his spinners would be more suitable.

      • December 11th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Alan said | December 11th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        “…neither player has exactly excelled consistently at Test level” – I’d love to have seen Maxwell given as many starts as MMarsh old mate.

        • December 11th 2017 @ 10:02am
          Don Freo said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          How many starts do you think Mitch has had?

          • December 11th 2017 @ 10:12am
            Perry Bridge said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            See my post above – 21 tests – and after those first 4 when he did okay – he’s had 17 tests in the last 30 months for a batting avg of only 17.17.

            In that time his avg by position:
            #3 (1 hit): 21 at 21
            #5 (4 hits, 2 no): 48 at 24
            #6 (20 hits, 1 no): 307 at 16.16
            #7 (2 hits): 36 at 18.

            We have to got back to Oct and Dec 2014 to find any form when he scored 87, 47, 41 and 40 in successive knocks. Because of how I’ve chunked it – the reality is the Brisbane test in 2014 (the next in that stint) only produced 11 and 6*. So – in essence in the 18 tests after that run of form – he’s produced nothing of substance.

            • December 11th 2017 @ 10:24am
              Don Freo said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

              Perry, those years have been. Current form says he is batting well.

              One day you get how it works.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 11:07am
                George said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                Oh dear. Distorted reality and condescension in one post.

                I’d love to hear an example of a failed Test performer over a sustained period if your boy Mitch isn’t one.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 10:55pm
                Alan said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:55pm | ! Report

                I know how many starts MMarsh has had Don (do you) and if we’re selecting #6 on current batting form I’d give it to Maxwell

              • December 12th 2017 @ 1:14pm
                Don Freo said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                So would I.. as I have said so many times.

                That does NOT mean Marsh is no good. When you use that method of argument, it stops being a cricket conversation and becomes an invalid prejudice. That carries no weight. It reduces what you say to a schoolyard taunt.

            • December 11th 2017 @ 10:37am
              Christo the Daddyo said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              And the same argument could have been made about his brother. Yet his selection this series has panned out. Why couldn’t the same thing happen to his brother? He’s in good form , with only a single game (that against NSW) that he failed.

              And if you want to look at bowling as to why Maxwell should be selected, he’s only taken a single wicket so far this season. Despite bowling in every game.

              My preference is actually to keep Handscomb in the team (a bit of backing from the selectors would probably do him good) – let’s see how he goes on the WACA pitch. But if the decision is to drop him because the selectors want an all-rounder, I don’t think either Maxwell or Marsh are decidedly better than the other. Which is the premise of Ronan’s article.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 11:25am
                Andrew said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                If the choice came down to MM or Handscomb, I’d be taking Handscomb. Unfortunately the selectors are scared their fast bowlers are made of glass and MM is going to be in whether we like it or not.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 12:43pm
                Perry Bridge said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report


                re Maxwell bowling or not – I’m pretty sure S.Smith doesn’t rate him as a bowler so I’m not holding my breath.

                As the #6 batter for Australia – at present – he should be #1 in the queue. Should be.

                If M.Marsh comes in, then perhaps Paine goes to #6 and we have a #7 who might contribute 20 or so (which was not acceptable from messers Wade and Neville as keepers) – and who in the vast majority of scenarios is excess to bowling requirements but nice insurance.

                It does look as though the M.Marsh square peg is going to be smashed and bashed into that round hole until all the edges have been sheared off. I can see the allure however my sense of justice, fair reward etc says that he’s had more than enough chances and there are people who warrant that slot on merit far more than that ‘p’ word (potential). M.Marsh can go and perform for Australia ‘A’.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 12:47pm
                Don Freo said | December 11th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                I can see how you take that position if you pay no attention to 2017.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 10:57pm
                Alan said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:57pm | ! Report

                2017 form puts Maxwell at the head of the queue Don

              • December 12th 2017 @ 1:19pm
                Don Freo said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                It does not invalidate Marsh. Maxwell is the best choice as a batsman right now. Handscomb should get another go BUT if they want to defray the bowling load, Marsh is a good choice and is in excellent, sustainable batting form.

                To argue that one guy is good does not necessitate an argument that the other is no good. These guys are Australia’s first class cricketers. They are all good.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 11:02pm
                Alan said | December 11th 2017 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

                Dupe, sorry?

              • December 11th 2017 @ 3:54pm
                George said | December 11th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                And ignore your precious one-day domestic form, eh?

                Marsh is a proven failure. His selection is an affront to players who perform consistently at Shield over multiple seasons – not just a few fast fifties here and there on Perth roads.

              • December 11th 2017 @ 10:52pm
                Alan said | December 11th 2017 @ 10:52pm | ! Report

                No Christo, you compared (falsley) their batting records. I simply called you to account you daddyo you…

        • Columnist

          December 13th 2017 @ 12:44am
          Ronan O'Connell said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:44am | ! Report

          If Maxwell was given 9 Tests in Australia, as MMarsh has been, I would wager big money that he would do much better than Marsh’s average of 21 and top score of 41 in those matches.

      • December 11th 2017 @ 4:02pm
        Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | December 11th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        I think a few people forget what a road the WACA has been in recent years. In the last test played there against South Africa – which Australia lost – Mitch Marsh bowled 32 overs for the match and took two wickets for about 100. His economy rate was about the same as Hazlewood. Lyon bowled 44 overs, also took two wickets and went for 184 in total. It was about this time that everyone was calling for Lyon’s head. And the fast bowlers (Starc, Hazlewood and Siddle) all bowled somewhere between 50 and 60 overs each for the match. That is a massive workload. Can anyone see Maxwell wheeling down 32 overs of ineffectual off spin?

        In the drawn match against NZ at Perth the previous year the Aussie fast bowlers all bowled between 30 and 40 overs each in NZ’s first dig of 624. Mitch Marsh bowled 15 overs and took a wicket and Lyon bowled 38 overs. Mitchell Johnson went for 5.6 per over in racking up 1/157 off 28 overs. He was basically belted. Based on these conditions you can understand why the selectors want someone who can bowl at least 15 overs per innings in Perth and look like getting a wicket rather than a trundler bowling half a dozen overs. Again there is logic in the selectors thinking – just like the selections of S Marsh and Tim Paine in the first test – but no one wants to see it.

        • December 12th 2017 @ 6:38pm
          TheCunningLinguistic said | December 12th 2017 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

          Well said, Geoff! I still think Marsh is undercooked and needs more time, so Maxi should’ve been the one to come in if needed. However, Mitch will do ok if selected.

    • December 11th 2017 @ 6:36am
      scottyridge said | December 11th 2017 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      Finally a balanced article on the potentially ludicrous decision to pick Mitchell Marsh as a number 6 batsman for the next test. Thank you!

      • December 11th 2017 @ 5:46pm
        Steve said | December 11th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

        Cant wait for his batting average to drop below 20, as if it wasn’t already embarrassing enough.

    • December 11th 2017 @ 7:18am
      Steele said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

      Agree with all of that, it’s a strong looking line up with Maxy in place of Handscombe. Maxy and Smith should be capable of sharing a number of overs to rest the frontline bowlers. Mitch has barely started bowling anyway. And hasn’t proven much of a wicket taker. Personally I think Smith under bowls himself a bit. He is not as tight as Maxy, but bowls more wicket taking balls. It’s too flaky with Marsh and Paine at six and seven, especially against S.A.!

    • Roar Guru

      December 11th 2017 @ 7:30am
      Red Kev said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      Since 2011 Cricket Australia has had a love affair with the name Marsh. Who knows why they were named in the Argus report but they were and where we are now is simply fact. The no.1 consideration for any national selector is to select Marshes.

    • December 11th 2017 @ 7:40am
      Josh said | December 11th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      If we need a 5th bowler then pick Jackson Bird and move everyone 1 up the order. Paine, Starc and Cummins all have better test batting records then Mitjch Marsh so assume he will bat at 9 anyway. Given tjat we may as well pick Bird which will mean getting the english out for 50 runs less as well.

      • December 13th 2017 @ 12:54am
        Dexter The Hamster said | December 13th 2017 @ 12:54am | ! Report

        Joe Mennie is a better bat than Bird, he is the man for sure……

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