Aussie coach nominates Marsh as T20 World Cup skipper

Having held the role unofficially since Aaron Finch’s retirement, Mitch Marsh has been backed to take over ahead of the upcoming global event

Australia's men's team coach Andrew McDonald has strongly endorsed Mitchell Marsh as Australia's captain at upcoming men's T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA in June.

Marsh has held the leadership role on an unofficial basis since previous skipper Aaron Finch retired in the wake of the previous T20 World Cup staged in Australia in late 2022.

On the occasions Marsh has been rested from the 20-over team, now that he has won back his Test berth and is a three-format player, veteran keeper-batter Matthew Wade has filled the breach while Test and ODI skipper Pat Cummins also remained an option.

But with no T20 internationals scheduled before Australia kicks off their Cup campaign against Oman at Barbados on June 6, McDonald will recommend to the Cricket Australia board the 32-year-old be handed the reins on a formal basis.

Carey innings a 'significant step', Smith criticism 'unfair': McDonald

"I think all roads will lead to Mitch, so just got to get that ticked off in certain areas," said McDonald who – with chair George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide – forms the selection panel that will advise CA of their preferred choice.

"We're happy and comfortable with the way he's been able to operate with that T20 team.

"We think he's the leader for the World Cup, and I think that will just be a matter of due course."

Marsh's road to redemption as an international player, which culminated in his popular win as Allan Border Medallist at the recent Australian Cricket Awards, began in the 20-over game when he led his team to the 2021 World Cup trophy.

He was player of the match in the final against New Zealand at Dubai, belting an unbeaten 77 from 50 balls as Australia chased down the Black Caps' victory target of 173 with more than an over to spare.

All the highlights of Mitch Marsh's finest performance

His continued evolution as an all-format player was highlighted in the most recent Test win against NZ yesterday, where he again anchored Australia's last-innings pursuit scoring 80 (from 102 balls) in a pivotal sixth-wicket partnership with Alex Carey who finished 98no.

The value of a player with Marsh's all-round skill set has also led McDonald and his fellow selectors to re-examine the manner in which all-format batters are managed throughout an increasingly congested international playing schedule.

McDonald cited the example of top-order batter Travis Head who won back his Australia T20 place six months ago after an absence of almost five years due to his heroic performances in the Test and ODI line-ups.

But having been rushed back into the team midway through last year's ODI World Cup in India – after suffering a fractured hand in the lead-up to the tournament – and starring in Australia's triumph over host nation India in the final, Head's subsequent returns in all three formats have been patchy.

He swung at everything in the three-match T20I series that preceded the Tests in NZ where he finished as leading run-scorer, but failed to reach 30 in the four red-ball outings that followed.

Caught at point driving languidly at a wide ball from Tim Southee in yesterday morning's second over, which left Australia 5-80 chasing 279, Head dragged himself slowly from the field and appeared mentally and physically fatigued despite having a break immediately after the home Test summer.

Dropped, then out, again! Marsh let off, Head departs

McDonald claimed management of players who transition from format to format remains a case-by-case program depending each individual's needs, but conceded Head appeared to be feeling the strain of a hefty workload over the previous 18 months.

"There's a lot of stresses," McDonald said of the star batter who was player of the match in Australia's World Test Championship Final and ODI World Cup Final wins.

"He was coming off a significant injury through that World Cup, and it takes a lot out of you mentally and physically.

"There's no doubt we can learn some lessons on the back of Trav's entry into all three formats and how to give him a bit of rest in the Australian summer.

"So there's some balance there, and I think we do it really well with bowlers where it makes a lot of sense because it's more the physical element that we try to mitigate against some injuries and make sure they're fresh at the right times.

"But I think it's definitely a conversation for batters and how much they can take on over a period of time."

Carey, Cummins hail 'resilient' Aussies after thrilling Test win

McDonald also flagged that, in order to best prepare for next summer's five-Test campaign against India to whom Australia have lost their past four Border-Gavaskar Trophy battles, some all-format players might prioritise Marsh Sheffield Shield cricket ahead of limited-overs internationals.

The strategy worked with allrounder Cameron Green who was overlooked for the T20I series against NZ and instead turned out for Western Australia and scored a century that set him up for his match-winning 174no in the opening Test against the Black Caps at Wellington.

Following the upcoming T20 World Cup in June, the Australia men's team's only commitments are a series of white-ball fixtures in the UK in September before a home limited-overs campaign against Pakistan in November that immediately precedes the Tests against India.

As such, McDonald has foreshadowed the possibility of all-format batters such as Steve Smith potentially opting for Test preparation in the Shield competition rather than playing white-ball cricket where the next global tournament will be the ICC Champions Trophy scheduled for Pakistan in early 2025.

"We've got England in September, and then October becomes a bit of a space for some players to potentially play some Shield cricket, then we've got Pakistan in an ODI series," McDonald said.

"There's always the challenge of different formats, and Steve (Smith) is obviously a pivotal part of our white-ball set-up, so we've got to juggle that.

"We've had the scope to do that with Cameron Green, and we'll position them individually the best we can leading into the India Tests."

2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup

Australia's Group B fixtures

June 6: v Oman, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 10.30am AEST

June 9: v England, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 3am AEST

June 12: v Namibia, Sir Viv Richards Stadium, Antigua, 10.30am AEST

June 16: v Scotland, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 10.30am AEST

Super 8s fixtures TBC

27 June: Semi-final 1, Brian Lara Academy, Trinidad, 10.30am AEST

28 June: Semi-final 2, Providence Stadium, Guyana, 12.30am AEST

30 June: Final, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 12.30am AEST

For the full list of fixtures click hereAll matches will be broadcast live on Amazon Prime