Sheffield Shield 2016-17
Marsh sacked as Tasmania coach
Upheaval continues in Tasmania after four seasons of limited success in domestic cricket
16 February 2017, 04:00 PM AEST
Tasmania have parted ways with coach Dan Marsh, effective immediately.
The Tigers have had a torrid season so far, winning just one of their seven Sheffield Shield matches to be rooted to the bottom of the table, while they also failed to make the finals of the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup in October.
And having suffered two heavy Shield losses following the mid-season break, including a nine-wicket thumping at home to Western Australia last week, Cricket Tasmania has taken action.
Marsh was handed a two-year contract extension last March, but has been sacked less than a year later.
It continues a season of upheaval in the Apple Isle after the Hobart Hurricanes decided not to renew the contract of coach Damien Wright for the next KFC Big Bash League season.
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"The players are the ones who perform on the field, but the Head Coach has ultimate responsibility for results and performance," Cricket Tasmania Chairman Andrew Gaggin said in a statement.
"On behalf of the Cricket Tasmania Board, management, staff, members and fans generally I would like to thank Dan for his period as coach and service to Tasmanian cricket."
The Tigers said an interim coaching structure would be announced in due course, with current assistant coach Wright a chance to take the top job.
As a player, Marsh famously led the Tigers to their breakthrough Sheffield Shield triumph in 2006-07 and then took over as head coach in 2013 following the retirement of Tim Coyle.
Coyle had taken the Tigers to the top of Australian domestic cricket during his eight years in charge; he won three Shield titles and two in the 50-over domestic competition, and had guided the side to three consecutive Shield finals and four out of the previous six one-day finals before he walked away in 2012-13.
The Tigers also over-achieved when it came to producing players for Australia, with Jason Krejza, Ben Hilfenhaus, Tim Paine, Xavier Doherty, Ed Cowan and Jackson Bird all making their Test debuts when Coyle was in charge.
But success has eluded the Tigers since Coyle's departure; they've finished in the bottom two of the Shield in each of Marsh's three seasons in charge so far and they've also missed the finals of the one-day competition on four consecutive occasions.
Marsh's cause hasn't been helped by the mass departure of experienced players like Ricky Ponting, Mark Cosgrove, Luke Butterworth, Cowan, Hilfenhaus and Krejza, who were crucial to the success Tasmania enjoyed under Coyle's watch.
The Tigers have also invested heavily in youth from other states during Marsh's tenure, with the likes of Jake Doran, Ben McDermott and Jake Hancock imported with limited success, at the expense of internationals like Paine, Doherty, Alex Doolan and Ben Dunk.
Dunk, who was dropped from the Shield side at the end of last month despite being the competition's leading run-scorer last season, said inconsistency was to blame for Tasmania's slide this season.
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Speaking to cricket.com.au earlier this week, before Marsh's sacking, Dunk pointed to the fact that skipper George Bailey is currently the second leading run-scorer in the Shield competition as proof that too heavy a load was being carried by too few.
"I think all the players in the team have scored runs or taken wickets at some stage, it's just a matter of coming together as a team," he said.
"George is (one of) the leading run-scorers in the comp and yet we're on the bottom.
"It's a pretty clear indication that we need to give him some support ... and help him not burden such a heavy load."
Tasmania's next Shield assignment will be against NSW Blues in Wollongong on February 25.