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Opinion

'Steve Waugh style ice man': Mitchell Marsh is the epitome of Aussie spirit

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Roar Rookie
15th November, 2021
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On February 21, 2020, Mitchell Marsh was selected in the T20 squad for a tour of South Africa after a two-year team hiatus.

Australia collectively took a gulp at the prospect of another short-lived stint in the national team. He batted at number five and fell cheaply for 19 runs.

Fast forward 24 matches and Marsh has cemented himself as number three in the Australian line-up, been the anchor in the team on several failed away series and lifted his batting average by more than ten in the process.

Aussies love to hate talented cricketers that have never quite stepped up and fulfilled that dream role they were destined for.

And Marsh has had his fair share of ups and downs across all formats of international cricket.

Australia's David Warner and Marcus Stoinis celebrate with Mitchell Marsh following their side's victory during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final match between New Zealand and Australia at Dubai International Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Always burdened with the legacy of his family name and earmarked as a future great in his own right, he’ll never shake off that expectation from the public.

Rewind to Australia’s 2019 Ashes series in England where Marsh was part of the squad and only played one match in the fifth Test.

‘What is he even even doing there?’ asked many of us. ‘He doesn’t deserve to be in the squad. He’s an embarrassment. He’s a loser.’

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But something was brewing in that Test series that wasn’t evident to many.

As an Ashes squad teammate, another side of Marsh was exposed in The Test documentary series, which followed the Australian team during the series.

What was highlighted and spoke about was Marsh’s role outside of the Test playing XI.

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We saw him working out with his teammates, competing in drills, and offering never-ending encouragement and support from the sideline.

But most of all, we saw this curious side that stood out like a sore thumb and is the epitome of the Australian spirit: energetic, abundant good humour and larrikinism (a term that is uniquely ours).

And during an extremely tense Ashes series, this seemed to give the team a real boost in the dressing room, as was highlighted by Justin Langer during his interviews. His role was a vital part of the team’s success.

Since that reintroduction into the T20 squad, we know what has happened since.

The faith shown in him for that key a central role has been rewarded, he has shown true leadership qualities, a healthy dose of Steve Waugh style ice-man attributes in pressure situations, never-give-up attitude and form that has made the nation get behind him again.

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Mitchell Marsh

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Much like Shane Watson, who had the pleasure of commentating his final push to winning us the World Cup, he has found admiration again from the entire nation.

This is his most dominant format so far and who knows where he can go from here? It’s a great Aussie comeback story.

In 2005, Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard made a speech at the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

Those that were there will remember it as one of the most stirring of our national spirit.

He talked about the larrikinism, good humour and mateship among the best qualities of Australians that made them better than the “stock soldier”.

And while cricket is a million miles away from war, they are the same characteristics that Marsh shares and they have given him an edge that’s shone through for the national team.

While Aussie fans can be brutal at times, we can now honestly say, ‘we love you, Mitch. Thank you for exuding the spirit that we all love to see.’

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