Justin Langer couldn’t have possibly taken over as Australian men’s cricket coach at a more difficult time.
Shaun Marsh’s entire career has been controversial. From when he made his debut in the baggy green to now as a 36-year-old, people still say he got more chances because of his well-known cricketing family.
Marsh missed out on the entirety of Australia’s Ashes campaign and didn’t play in all of the 2019 World Cup. Due to injuries or selection, he has had virtually no time on the international stage this season. However, he has been an absolute run-machine since the start of the domestic cricket season which begs the question: what does Australia do with Shaun Marsh?
Let’s start off with the Test team. Marsh has played 38 Tests in an eight-year-long career to this point. The peak of this career was between 2014 and 2016 where he averaged 46.50, 42.10 and 57.75 each year.
Since 2016, however, his Test statistics have been on a decline. Marsh averaged 33.85 in 2017, and 25.89 in the ten-match, jam-packed season of 2018. His last Test series was against India, where he achieved scores of 2, 60, 45, 5, 19, 44 and 8, at an average of 26.14. This caused the 36-year-old to be dropped for the following Test series against Sri Lanka.
Marsh wasn’t fully prepared leading into the 2019 Ashes series, having recently missed a bit of action due to injury and the birth of his second child. Nonetheless, he has had an amazing start to the 2019-20 Sheffield Shield, making headlines as he scored 214 against a strong Victorian bowling attack featuring James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain and Scott Boland.
In his first four innings of the tournament, he scored 9 and 85 against Tasmania as well as 214 and 0 (not out) against Victoria. Controversially, Marsh missed out on a spot in the Australia A team which will be playing a three-day match against Pakistan in mid-November at Perth Stadium.
This strong squad features batsmen Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns, Travis Head, Will Pucovski, Nic Maddinson and wicketkeeper Alex Carey. This a clear signal that the selectors are focusing on younger talents, such as Pucovski, opposed to a veteran like Marsh.
Next, we go on to ODIs. Marsh made his ODI debut for Australia against West Indies in 2008 and has been Mr Consistent in the format, averaging 43.73 in 46 matches between 2008 and 2015.
In 2016 and 2017, Marsh hit a slump in this shorter format, averaging only 29.20 and 19. However, since 2018, he has picked up his form again, averaging 50.67 in his twenty most recent ODIs.
He was hitting the ball well in the ODI series against India in preparation for the 2019 World Cup. Unfortunately, a broken wrist ruled him out of the latter stages of the tournament.
There is still hope, as he has started the Domestic One-Day Cup for Western Australia with a bang, scoring 8, 42, 82, 33, 30 and 85 at an average of 46.66.
Although he plenty of success in recent first-class appearances, Shaun Marsh’s best odds for representing Australia again will only come in the shorter formats of the game.