Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Marsh vows to make Australians proud
The Australia allrounder has a clear goal for what he wants to achieve during his stint as vice-captain
Louis Cameron in Dubai
27 September 2018, 10:34 AM AEST
After the tumultuous months Australian cricket has suffered through, it's perhaps no surprise the tone of Australian cricketers has taken on a greater air of responsibility.
When selection chief Trevor Hohns delivered the news Mitch Marsh and Josh Hazlewood were the new dual vice-captains of the Test team at their Dubai hotel on Wednesday, the squad enthusiastically welcomed the sole present appointee.
Marsh exchanged text messages with the absent Hazlewood, who has stayed back in Australia as his teammates have jetted off to the UAE due to injury setbacks over the winter, before duly informing his father Geoff, who filled the same post nearly three decades ago.
The 26-year-old exudes a sense of duty to the role and an awareness of the need to provide leadership to a team that, by the admission of its members after the events in South Africa earlier this year, has lacked it.
Marsh and Hazlewood were chosen following a lengthy process instituted by new coach Justin Langer that involved a player vote and a presentation to an imposing panel featuring ex-Test cricketers, the Chairman of the Cricket Australia Board and a sports psychologist.
Stating a desire to "make Australians proud", Marsh insisted his new designation is only part of the Test side’s refreshed approach to leadership.
"The biggest thing we've spoken about as a team right now, and I even said it in my presentation to the (panel), whether I have a title next to my name or not, it's actually irrelevant," Marsh told cricket.com.au.
"I want to be the best person, the best Australian cricketer and leader that I can be for this group and the whole organisation.
"That's something we want every single cricketer to be in the Australian cricket team, hopefully I'll be able to instill that on young guys coming through, what it is to be an Australian cricketer and what we stand for going forward.
"That's my goal."
Langer and the rest of the National Selection Panel that had the final say on the candidates put forward to the CA Board have noted the appointments do not necessarily represent an endorsement that either should be viewed as Tim Paine's successor.
The role of Australian Test vice-captaincy has been a turbulent one in recent years.
Michael Clarke has admitted his own shortcomings in the job under Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson resigned from the post not long after the 'homework-gate' saga in India while David Warner has been banned from ever holding a leadership position in Australian cricket again following the ball-tampering scandal.
The unprecedented fallout from the Cape Town incident prompted Langer's idea to ditch tradition and adopt a method he'd seen succeed with Australian Football League side West Coast Eagles, the Perth team he's been a board member of and where Marsh's cousin Brad Sheppard plays.
Having seen the system implemented in Western Australia under Langer and earning the state captaincy on the back of it, Marsh is comfortable he can remain himself despite the inevitable stresses of leadership.
"Talking in front of the calibre (of people) in the room was quite daunting," he said. "To have the opportunity to talk about my vision for Australian cricket is something I'd probably never thought I'd get to do to board members and some legends of Australians cricket.
"I've certainly grown as a leader in the last 12 months for Western Australia. I've found out a lot about myself, about the leadership.
"I absolutely love captaining Western Australia.
"I think my biggest strength is that it hasn't changed me as a person and I certainly don't see the vice-captaincy changing me as a person.
"I'll be that same guy around the team, it's got me to this position and I think that's important – that's leadership in my opinion."
While the Paine-Marsh-Hazlewood era will have to wait for the home summer to debut with all its members present, the new deputies are no strangers to one another.
Before featuring in the Baggy Green, the pair born less than 10 months apart first locked horns as schoolboys. A few years on, Marsh skippered Hazlewood to Australia's most recent Under-19 World Cup win in 2010.
"It's a pretty cool story - we started playing against each other for WA and New South Wales when we were Under-15s, played Under-15s for Australia together and all through the junior process and now we're here,” said Marsh.
"Josh is just an honest country guy. He's extremely professional in the way he goes about it, he's a great player, he's a great bowler and he's a great Australian.
"He'll be fantastic in this role."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai
Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi