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Why Mitchell Marsh cannot start the first Ashes Test

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28th July, 2019
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Mitch Marsh cannot be allowed to start the first test at Edgbaston. Full stop.

If Marsh is to be selected, then most likely he will bat at No.6 where he has a grand average of 26.95. Take out his two centuries and suddenly the walls come tumbling down. Marsh at No.6 averages one ton every 20 innings, which is a century every ten Tests.

Let’s compare Marsh to one of our greatest No.6 batsmen, Steve Waugh. It took Waugh 38 innings before he scored his first Test match century. In that time he averaged 30 with the bat while taking 40 wickets at 37. In Marsh’s first 38 innings, he averaged 26.3.

Waugh went on to decimate the Ashes in 1989, then despite being dropped soon after, he averaged over 50 pretty much every year from his comeback in 1993. Marsh has been dropped more times than I care to count in his first 38 innings and Marsh’s career is nosediving at the point Waugh went big.

Steve Waugh also had a bowling average of 37.45, which is a lot better than Marsh’s 44. In fact, the only place Marsh has the wood over Waugh is the strike rate, with Marsh taking wickets every 76 balls to Waugh’s 84. But overall, Waugh is a better all-rounder than Marsh.

The comparison might be unfair, but here’s another one – this time with Mike Hussey. While Hussey spent most of his career at No.4 or No.5, he spent his early days batting at No.6 – and he thrived, averaging 52 in only 26 innings.

Marsh has not even come close to averaging 30 with the bat in recent times, though these comparisons don’t take into account the potential of Marsh, which has not yet come to fruition after five years. Even James Pattinson averages more than Marsh at Test level.

Mitchell Marsh walks off the pitch after being given out.

(Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Marsh is only 27, so he should be in his playing prime, as most players start to decline around 30 years of age. If this is the best Marsh can give, then he cannot play, especially not in swinging, seaming conditions like those in the UK.

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He is prone to playing at the ball with hard hands in front of his pads leading to nick after nick to the slips cordon.

The likes of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes will be begging for Marsh to be picked, as they will have easy pickings. It will be a repeat of the 2015 Ashes.

It is time for the selectors to admit that it’s time to move on from the Marsh experiment. It has failed miserably.

Shaun Marsh has had about three good series with the bat, Mitch has had one. It is time to find a new all-rounder to develop if the selectors are desperate for the next Jacques Kallis, otherwise just pick a batsman that can bowl some medium pace if necessary and show some faith in our bowling line-up. They can handle the workload of an English summer a lot better than an Australian one.

The Marsh brothers have had their time in the sun and now we should move on. The fans have, but when will the selectors?

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Joe Burns deserves the spot in the squad ahead of Mitch Marsh, because Burns can actually strengthen a weak batting line-up. Marsh strengthens an already very strong bowling line-up. Move on selectors, move on.

This is the XI I would pick for the first Ashes Test: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon. 

Labuschagne moves to No.3 and Matt Wade comes in if Khawaja is not fit.