Allrounder Mitch Marsh is confident of regaining his top bowling speed as he targets a comeback with the ball in the early rounds of the Sheffield Shield season.
Marsh is currently taking part in light duties with the Australian squad during their training camp in Darwin ahead of the Bangladesh Test series after undergoing shoulder surgery in March.
The 25-year-old played the first two Tests in the epic series against India earlier this year, but the shoulder injury that had disrupted his summer of cricket ultimately proved too difficult to manage and he was forced home mid-tour.
“It sort of just got to the point where I couldn’t really bowl, I couldn’t really throw and it was pretty sore to bat,” Marsh told The Sunday Times.
“So it was time to get it fixed. It was absolutely shattering.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling that we had in the change room after winning that first Test match.”
Marsh is looking to return to the bowling crease in the next couple of weeks in the hope of being at full fitness for the start of the Shield season.
“I certainly don’t want to let this injury curb the way I bowl,” he said.
“One of my goals as soon as I had the surgery was to get back to bowling 140kph. So that’s what I’m striving for.”
The right-handed allrounder had established himself as a key batter in Australia’s one-day international side with an average of 42.80 and a strike rate of 96.10 in 2016, a year that also included his maiden ODI hundred.
Marsh is yet to find the same level of success in the game’s longest format and will be out to push his case to reclaim the allrounder spot that was filled by Glenn Maxwell for the latter half of the Indian tour.
While the blockbuster Magellan Ashes series looms large this summer, Marsh insists his immediate focus is on the start of the first-class season.
“It may take a bit of time ... to get back to being a fully-fledged allrounder, but I won’t know that until the time and I’m hoping that by the start of the Shield season I’ll be bowling with no restrictions,” he said.
“When I talk to physios and surgeons, they’re very positive about that as well. So it gives me great confidence.
“There’s three Shield games before that first Ashes Test, but to be brutally honest I’m not really sure where I’m going to be at then.
“At this stage it’s a week-by-week thing and if I get up for that first Shield game as an allrounder, then so be it.
“For me the equation’s simple: if I can get back as an allrounder and play for WA, if I make enough runs, then I know I’ll get looked at.”
Marsh was this week provided an update on his recovery progress from surgeon Greg Hoy – the same man who repaired Shane Warne’s shoulder in 1998.
With 29 Test wickets currently to his name, Marsh hopes Hoy’s handiwork will lead to many more, a la Warne.
“I said to him if you can make my shoulder take 700 Test wickets, I’ll be a happy man,” he quipped.