Shaun Marsh is a man long on ability and short on accomplishment but if ever there was a time for a batsman of his ilk to stand up, now is it.
If your appetite for the shorter form of the game was whetted after the Ashes series, it ought to be positively saturated now after heaving rain at Headingley forced the first game of the One-Day International series to be abandoned.
Still, if Australia can take any positives from that it should be that whenever weather has intervened, the Aussies have been on top. So given the downpour at Headingley, it’s a certainty we would have won the game.
The other good news, of course, is the form of batsmen Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch. Both have already turned in stunning performances in the Old Dart and will be hoping that rich vein runs through the entire ODI series.
And, of course, all eyes will be on Fawad Ahmed. Australia’s newest wrist spinner has been making headlines for reasons other than his leg-break but an encouraging performance in the second Twenty20 and a solid hit-out against the Scots suggest he is settling into the national team well and could yet bring England’s somewhat troubled past with leg-spin back to haunt it.
Rarely, if ever, has the make-up of Australia’s limited-overs team been as different in personnel to the Test line up as now. However, the early indications suggest the new players have breathed some fresh life into an arduous English tour for the Aussies. One of the ODI specialists, Clint McKay, was bang on against Scotland, conceding a niggardly two runs-per-over. His back-of-a-length awkwardness will be pivotal if the Aussies are to end the tour on a high with a series win.
Under the lid
Marsh is a man long on ability and short on accomplishment. If ever there was a time for batsmen of his ilk to stand up for Australia, now is it. Who knows what a solid one-day series against the English could lead to for this talented but frustrating left-hander? So far the son of Swampy’s form has been sublime, but we’ve seen him fade too many times before to become too excited now. Marsh needs consistency of contribution, and kicking things off with a big score at Manchester would be an ideal way to reinvigorate his international career.
And what of ‘smoking gun’ Glenn Maxwell? Will he fire like a canon or go off in the Aussies’ own faces? With the man they call “the big show” it is always difficult to tell.
Bye the way
Australia’s best one-day score at Old Trafford came back in 1993 when 258 was just enough to secure a narrow four-run win over the Poms. Some bloke called Matt Hayden made his limited-overs international debut in that game but, after Derek ‘Chips’ Pringle held up Australia with a miserly spell, it was Craig McDermott who got the Aussies home, snaring 3-38 off 11 overs (it was 55 over-per-team match). Perhaps fellow fiery strawberry blond James Faulkner can take heart?
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 08 September, 2013 10:15AM AEST