Confident Marsh aims to elevate game to new heights

Now believing he belongs at international level after a massive 12 months, and on the back of a confidence-building IPL with Ricky Ponting, the world is at Mitch Marsh's feet

Mitch Marsh has put his Indian "curse" behind him after a strong IPL campaign under T20 guru Ricky Ponting reaffirmed his new-found belief that he can match it with the world's best cricketers.

Marsh will resume the No.3 position, which he now says feels like "my position in T20 cricket", in Australia's upcoming T20 series in Sri Lanka which will mark his first international appearances since the side's World Cup triumph in the UAE last November.

The fact the allrounder was entrusted by Delhi Capitals coach Ponting to bat in the coveted first-drop spot in the world's leading T20 league highlights how highly rated the one-time whipping boy of Australian cricket has become.

After an interrupted start to the tournament, Marsh repaid the faith with 251 runs at a strike-rate of 132.80 as he and opener David Warner formed the backbone of Delhi's top-order in an otherwise middling campaign for the club.

Marsh punishes Royals with brutal six-hitting display

Marsh has constantly commanded big bucks at the IPL auction but seldom had a strong run of games; injuries affected his participation at the 2016, 2017 and 2020 tournaments, he pulled out of the 2021 campaign due to bubble fatigue and then contracted COVID-19 in April.

"After my first couple of weeks there I thought that I was cursed in India," he told reporters from Colombo on Saturday.

"I got through my initial injury – which was very minor – but then to play one game and get COVID, it was a bit of a shaky start but once I got going it was nice to put a few consistent performances on the board. I absolutely loved my time there."

Image Id: 7114D52D280F4FD09F09D80ABDDA5770 Image Caption: Mitch Marsh had a strike rate of 132.80, hitting 14 sixes in his 251 runs for the Delhi Capitals // BCCI-Sportzpics

The continued development of the Warner-Marsh union bodes well for Australia's World Cup defence later this year, with a match-winning 144-run stand against finalists Rajasthan Royals a highlight of the Capitals' tournament.

Marsh also pitched in with four wickets at 25, joking that he had demanded the new ball from captain Aaron Finch when the T20s against Sri Lanka begin on Tuesday. The paceman is nonetheless aware he now has a larger role to play with the ball in Australia's preferred T20 team line-up of only four specialist bowlers.

He also lauded the role of Ponting in reinforcing his own confidence.

The making of Mitch Marsh and memories of a maiden Test ton

"Everyone speaks about him so much and what he's achieved in the game, but I got a real sense of how much he cares for his players – I guess that's probably what he was like as a captain and a leader of a team," Marsh said of the former Australia skipper.

"Just the way he makes you feel – he made me feel like I was a really important player for Delhi. You gain confidence from that when a leader instils that sort of confidence in you."

Not that Marsh has needed much help in that regard.

Aaron Finch and Justin Langer's left-field decision to promote him to three in a depleted Australian team on tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh last year proved a masterstroke.

The right-hander delivered on the biggest stage, blasting 77 off 50 balls to ice a significant run chase in the World Cup final in Dubai. 

Those preceding tours were the first glimpses of his improvements against spin bowing – previously a self-admitted weakness in short-form game – and now boasts a strike-rate above 120 against slow bowling in T20s over the last year.

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"It's been a pretty crazy 12 months," said Marsh, who also won a KFC BBL title with the Perth Scorchers over that time. "A lot's happened, and I've certainly loved playing as much cricket for Australia consistently.

"Reflecting on the last 12 months, I've gotten a bit older, gained a bit more experience, I've started to understand what works for me when it comes to preparation and going into each game feeling as good as I possibly can.

"I've spoken about how international cricket is really hard. But you've got to believe that you belong here and I think over the last 12 months, I've really gained the belief that my best can match it with anyone in the world.

"All the best players in the world have that mentality."

In Case You Don't Know Me: Mitch Marsh

Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022

Sri Lanka T20 squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, Ramesh Mendis, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan. Standby: Jeffrey Vandersay, Niroshan Dickwella

Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade

June 7: First T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST

June 8: Second T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST

June 11: Third T20, Kandy, 11.30pm AEST

Sri Lanka ODI squad (provisional): Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ashen Bandara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Janith Liyanage, Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Sahan Arachchi, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama

Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

June 14: First ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST

June 16: Second ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST

June 19: Third ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST

June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST

June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST

Sri Lanka Test squad (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

June 29 - July 3: First Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST

July 8-12: Second Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST

All Sri Lanka v Australia international fixtures will be screened live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports

Australia A fixtures

Squad: Sean Abbott, Scott Boland, Pete Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee

June 8: First one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo

June 10: Second one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo

June 14-17: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota

June 21-24: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota