ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021
Marsh makes good on pledge to win over the doubters
Having remarked two years ago that 'most of Australia hates me', the allrounder is now a national hero
15 November 2021, 10:06 AM AEST
Two years after half-joking that he'd one day like to win the Australian public over, Mitch Marsh can now surely tick that off as a challenge conquered.
Australian cricket fans woke up on Monday to Marsh – for so long one of the most criticised cricketers in the country – delivering them the missing silverware in the sport's trophy cabinet.
He did so with a dominant 77 from 50 balls, producing when it mattered most in pursuit of New Zealand's 4-173 and ending a 14-year wait for Australia's Twenty20 title.
"Well hopefully (I did win them over)," Marsh said from Dubai.
"That comment a couple of years ago was a bit of tongue-in-cheek and obviously it went a long way at the time.
"But hopefully Australians are proud of me and proud of this amazing cricket team."
Marsh's man-of-the-match knock was a fitting reward for what is now the finest year of T20 cricket by an Australian batsman.
In the World Cup he averaged more than 60 with a strike rate beyond 145, oozing an ability to hit over the boundary from the first ball he faced.
He did it again in Sunday's final, making a statement of intent from the outset and ensuring the largest chase in a T20 World Cup decider always remained in reach.
It came after receiving the backing of Australia's hierarchy, emerging as the only bright spot at No.3 after series losses in Bangladesh and West Indies.
"He's obviously a special player," captain Aaron Finch said.
"To be able to put up with the critics for so long, when his performance hasn't been bad by any stretch of the imagination.
"For him to keep coming back after people keep doubting him shows how much of a quality person he is."
Marsh, for his part, accepted the ride hasn't been easy.
As recently as this time last year, he appeared on the complete outer.
"All those experiences just build resilience," the 31-year-old Marsh said.
"And that sort of stuff has got me to the point where I was able to go out and perform in a World Cup final.
"I lent on all those experiences. Both the amazing (experience of) playing cricket for Australia and WA and the tougher experiences.
"But that's no different to anyone else. Everyone's got their own story. Everyone's been through ups and downs."
Marsh's comments two years ago, where he quipped that Australia hated him, came after a five-wicket haul in the Ashes.
He has not played a Test since.
His future now looks safe in the white-ball side, but a Test return this summer isn't entirely out of the question.
Marsh will fly back with Ashes players into Brisbane, and hopes to feature for Australia A against England Lions.
"But I imagine I'll be back to the Scorchers for the Big Bash (after that) and trying to slog a few," he said.
2021 Men's T20 World Cup
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams