Selectors put misfiring Marsh on notice

Selector Rod Marsh says Test allrounder needs to lift his output with the bat against South Africa

Allrounder Mitchell Marsh has been put on notice that he "needs a Test hundred" early in the summer to secure his future in Australia's Test XI.

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The 25-year-old was today included in a 12-man squad to face South Africa in the first two of three Commonwealth Bank Tests, the first of which starts on Thursday.

West End Redbacks pace bowler Joe Mennie was the surprise inclusion after what National Selector Rod Marsh said was a "very difficult" and "strange" selection meeting.

Rod Marsh discusses Australia's Test squad

"There were quite a few blokes that came close to not being selected," said Marsh, who is no relation to the Test-playing brothers Mitchell and Shaun Marsh (sons of former Australia opener Geoff Marsh).

And allrounder Marsh was warned that his performances, particularly with the bat, needed to improve.

"He needs to bowl well and bat well, Mitch, he really does," said Rod Marsh.

"Unfortunately in the Shield game he did neither."

The allrounder scored 12 and a first-ball duck in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia at the WACA this week.

Speaking from the WACA Ground where Australia and South Africa will meet next week, Rod Marsh said the under-pressure Test No.6 had been "batting beautifully" but the lack of big score continued to frustrate.

In 18 Tests, Marsh has scored 600 runs, with just two half-centuries – the 87 he scored in his second Test in Abu Dhabi in October 2014, and the 53 in his last Test in Colombo in August.

Image Id: 06BA9F56280E4E5E8EAD263E22E3EA68 Image Caption: Marsh posted a half-century in Colombo in August // Getty

"That's the thing that's really annoying at the moment about Mitch," the selector said. "He's hitting the ball as well as anyone when he's played for Australia, he's hit the ball beautifully, but just hasn't got a big score.

"He needs to get a Test 100, Mitch, I reckon."

Speaking earlier this year, ahead of the recent tour of Sri Lanka, the younger Marsh said he was desperate to justify the selectors' trust in him.

"(Being selected) certainly makes you want to repay the selectors for the faith that they've shown," he told

"It's a lot of fun but you're also under a lot of pressure and that's what Test cricket's all about.

"I haven't scored as many runs as I can, but I've still loved every minute of it and I'm working really hard to try and get that breakthrough innings and hopefully that won't be too far away."

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The need for a fourth seam bowler who can also bat has given Marsh a longer leash than most, particularly as the National Selector declared today that an ability with the bat was a key factor in picking the fast-bowling attack.

But a lack of success – both personal and for the Australia team as a whole – could see the 25-year-old facing the axe later in the summer.

"When we sit down to pick the next two Tests matches ... we'll see how blokes have gone in these two," selector Marsh said.

"If we've won, it's obviously going to be a lot easier to select the next two. But if we've lost one or two of the Test matches I would predict changes.

"Mitch still is a guy that promises a heck of a lot.

"Let's hope he comes good. He's still a young man, he's still finding his way in Test cricket, I know that.

"But he's played enough now to be ready to fire, I hope."

Australia squad for the first two Commonwealth Bank Test matches: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Joe Mennie, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Adam Voges

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