The sun is shining brightly on discarded Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh once again, as the 26-year old earned an unexpected call-up into the Ashes squad for the third Test match in Perth.
With Ben Stokes returning to the English squad for the ODI series at the same time, it is tough to decide which is a talking point of greater value. Mitchell Marsh’s exclusion from the Aussie side revolved both around his poor run of form and physical instability.
Mitchell Marsh’s inclusion is a sign of worry for Peter Handscomb who has been struggling in the series. Speaking about his inclusion, Marsh said,
“I probably didn’t think it was going to happen this soon, but in saying that I feel like I’m in really good form at the moment, and it’s nice to be back playing as an allrounder,” Marsh said in Melbourne. “I’m no guarantee to play in Perth, it’ll depend on how the bowlers pull up; they’ve got eight days off now. Hopefully, they pull up well, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Despite failures with the willow in hand, Marsh’s bowling had kept him in the fray all this while. However, the right-handed all-rounder looks a more confident lad now.
“That was a great learning experience for me, I certainly lost a bit of confidence,” Marsh said of his difficulties in the Test side. “But that’s all a part of playing cricket at the highest level, you go through troughs, and right now I’m feeling really confident in my game and scoring runs for WA,” he said.
“From my experiences last year I wasn’t performing at my best, and in the game of cricket you can get pretty down on yourself, and I’ve just come to realise it’s a game. I’m here to play, to do my best for the team and as long as I prepare well and do everything I can I know I’ll be able to do a job for Australia.
“I’ve had eight or nine months to change a few things with my batting, and I think that’s working. Probably more [change] on the mental side, being able to deal with the pressures of batting for long periods of time is something I really wanted to work on, and I feel like my game is in a really good place right now,” added Marsh.
Mitchell Marsh highlighted the fact it is always special to play alongside his brother Shaun who has rooted his spot in the team with some brilliant performances in this year’s Ashes. Marsh mentioned he had learnt a lot from the left-handed Shaun.
“It’s always special playing for Australia with Shaun,” Mitchell Marsh said. “Playing together in the last Ashes Test match at the WACA would be pretty special as well, and with the position, we’re in it’s a great opportunity to hopefully come into the side and perform for the team. One thing I learned from Shaun is he’s solely focused on his own game now. When you play for Australia there are a lot of distractions outside the inner sanctum, but he’s just really concentrating hard now, and it’s great to see.” he said.
Marsh also had some kind words for Peter Handscomb, who might face the axe on Marsh’s inclusion.
“We’ve got a great relationship, Petey’s a great bloke, still averaging 50 in Test match cricket, so in these situations, you are always going to come under scrutiny if you don’t get runs, but he’s a very good player,” Marsh said. “I’m sure if he gets another opportunity in the next Test match, he’ll make runs.
“I certainly have been there. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is the distractions outside, the media and the scrutiny, that’s what happens when you play for Australia, but it’s all about making sure you focus on what you want and need to do to play well, and that’s all that matters. There’s always pressure for spots when you’re playing for Australia, there’ only 11 spots to fill. I’m feeling really confident in my game at the moment, so it’s a great feeling.” he concluded.