It’s been subtle. It’s been slow. It’s been quiet. But it’s been effective.
Old Mitch Marsh watchers knew the danger signs when he was picked on the Australia A tour, and in both the red-ball and white-ball squads – despite not deserving selection in either on the basis of his 2018-19 form.
The Marshettes in the media spun it in a low key way – “Gee, it’s been a hard year for him, vice-captain one minute dumped the next. Who would begrudge him an Australian A tour? Poor guy.”
But he got to England.
Ricky Ponting hoped Marsh would make the World Cup squad.
But Marsh was omitted from the squad. He didn’t deserve to be picked, but the Marshettes went on about how he was a shock exclusion.
Marsh was then the beneficiary of a few strokes of luck, as he often is right before an Ashes series. His brother, Shaun, was injured before he had the chance to fail during the tournament.
Absence tends to make the heart grown fonder when it comes to Marshes and Australian selectors.
Secondly, Australia didn’t win the World Cup. We performed better than expected, but it’s a World Cup where semi-final means failure, so it turned out to be a good tournament for Marsh to miss.
Even better for Mitch, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis both underperformed in their games, Stoinis disastrously so. Both were made scapegoats for Australia being booted, with Justin Langer singling them out.
And boy did the selectors respond? Excluding them for the Ashes trial game. On the basis of their one-day form.
Maxwell is not considered to be among the top 25 cricketers in Australia, all on the basis of a few underwhelming ODIs.
But you know who did make the top 25? Yep. Mitch Marsh.
Mitch Marsh, who’d been the subject of sympathetic articles suggesting that, once again, he’d learnt his lessons and was ready to grow as a cricketer.
Mitch Marsh, who was then the subject of another article suggesting he was ready for Ashes selection on the back of a decent performance in a one-day game.
Mitch Marsh, who has been floated by Justin Langer as a possibility for the team’s all-rounder position even though having an all-rounder didn’t help us in 2015 or 2013 or 2009.
Mitch Marsh, who has now taken five wickets in a first-class game right when he needed to.
I didn’t want to write another Mitch Marsh piece. Truly, I didn’t want to have to go through this again. But this is never going to end.
We should just make him captain and be done with it.