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AUSTRALIA V PAKISTAN TESTS

Legends divided over Marsh conundrum

30 November 2016

Shaun Marsh has averaged 66 from four Tests in the past 12 months // Getty Images

Allan Border and Michael Slater respond to Ian Chappell's belief that Shaun Marsh should be discarded from Test side


Allan Border and Michael Slater have both dismissed the suggestion of former Test skipper Ian Chappell that Australia's selectors should discard veteran left-hander Shaun Marsh from their future plans.

Marsh played the opening Test of the recent series against South Africa before being sidelined with a broken finger, and replacement opener Matt Renshaw impressed on his Test debut in Adelaide last week.

But despite Renshaw's strong showing against the Proteas, Slater believes he should be sent back to domestic cricket when Marsh returns to full fitness.

Aussie crowd urges watchful Renshaw on

"I think that Matthew Renshaw now has had one Test, he's had a great experience," Slater said on Big Sports Breakfast.

"He can go back and fill up with Shield runs, hopefully. We know that he's an international player in the future.

"So for the strength of the side, I think Shaun Marsh probably does come back in.

Quick Single: Rogers' tip to make way for Marsh

"I would think being the incumbent and showing some good form he should come back into the side."

Injury and selection has dictated that Marsh has played just four Tests in the past 12 months, but has averaged 66 in that time, including two centuries.

Marsh flourishes with fine fifty

Border, who watched the left-hander's century against Sri Lanka in Colombo earlier this year from the commentary box, said the 33-year-old still had plenty to offer at the top level.

But Border was also full of praise for Renshaw, saying the 20-year-old provided the Aussies with a point of difference in a batting line-up full of attacking players.

"I think Shaun in recent times has really taken to Test cricket," Border told SEN.

"He just has this terrible run with injury so that's the issue for me. He can't keep himself fit and on the park.

"But I wouldn't just discard him outright because I think he's hit a time in his life where he understands his game better.

"I understand where Ian (Chappell) is coming from because I thought Renshaw was really good (in Adelaide). He gave us that stability at the top of the order that we've been lacking.

"We've got a lot of players who go after the bowling and play aggressively, so I think it's good to have the odd guy in there whose hard to dismiss and you can bat around him.

Marsh marks Test return with a century

The fitness of Marsh looms as Australia's biggest selection conundrum ahead of the three-match Commonwealth Bank Series against Pakistan, which starts at the Gabba on December 15.

Should the left-hander be declared fit and ready to play, either Renshaw or No.6 Nic Maddinson would be expected to drop out of the side.

Speaking on Tuesday, Chappell said it was time for Australia to move on from Marsh, who has averaged 40 from 19 Tests since his debut five-and-a-half years ago.

"I put a line through Shaun Marsh's name a while ago," Chappell told FIVEaa radio.

"Crikey, he's got talent but he plays one (Test) and then misses two, plays one, misses two. You can't have fellas injured all the time.

"I reckon he's the sort of fella who loses confidence fairly quickly. Guys who do that tend to have big peaks and large valleys in their batting chart.

"I would have moved on from Marsh, especially with these young guys doing some good stuff."

A look at how the Aussie debutants went

While Marsh has been beset by hamstring issues in the past, most recently during the Matador Cup in October, Slater says his latest injury shouldn't count against him.

"If Shaun Marsh had left the side with another hamstring problem – this on-going issue – I would probably think the injury's going to keep re-occurring," Slater said.

"But because it's a broken finger, it's a little different."

The fact that respected cricketing minds like Chappell, Border and Slater are split on the Marsh issue underlines just how difficult a decision selectors face should he be fit for the first Test against Pakistan.

Speaking after the Adelaide match, former Test opener Chris Rogers said Renshaw's performance on debut made him "almost undroppable", but also said Marsh should return to the side as soon as possible.

"I don't think (Marsh can replace Renshaw) now," he said.

"(But) I think you've got to get Marsh back in the side before India because otherwise what cricket is he going to play (before that series)?

"I'd like to see him back in because he'll be one of the first picked for that Indian series.

"But really, can you drop Renshaw? It might be hard on maybe Maddinson but Renshaw, what a job he did."

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Meg Lanning Steve Smith

About the Writer

 @martinsmith9994
@martinsmith9994

Martin Smith is a writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.

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