Test great Justin Langer predicts Mitch Marsh's shoulder injury will end up being a blessing in disguise, after revealing the allrounder played through pain for much of the summer.
Marsh is set for an extended stint on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his troublesome right shoulder last week, having returned from Australia's Qantas Tour of India following the second Test in Bengaluru.
The 25-year-old was initially expected to miss between six and nine months, putting in doubt his availability for the Ashes, which gets underway in November.
But Langer says Marsh is on track to return earlier than expected, and hopes Marsh's injury-forced break from the game will prove to be a turning point.
"Hopefully this will be a good thing for him," Langer said on Monday.
"It will be the first time for a long time he's got some time to spend at home.
"Not being on the treadmill of the international circuit, he can get himself fit, and he can do some work on his batting particularly.
"And also he can play without pain. He's been in pain for most of the season. It's unfortunate it got to the point where he needed surgery."
Marsh was named in Australia’s Test squad for India despite having been ruled out of January's VB one-day international series against Pakistan after injuring the same shoulder.
He missed the preceding ODI tour to New Zealand, but recovered in time to play in Australia's sole warm-up match in Mumbai before returning to the starting XI for the first two Tests.
Langer couldn't help but feel a tad frustrated national selectors kept playing Marsh despite the soreness, but admitted he understands it was a situation where there was no right answer.
"I get it, but I don't get it," Langer said.
"I get why Mitch Marsh is such an attractive player for the selectors. I understand he's got such a good package.
"But on the other hand I don't get it, because we know he's had a sore shoulder for so long.
"It's like the Pat Cummins discussion at the moment - there's no easy answer to it.
"So I get it, but I don't get it."
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Australia coach Darren Lehmann insisted Marsh's shoulder wasn't troubling him at the beginning of the India tour.
"It was fine when he got here but it's gotten worse," said national coach Darren Lehmann.
"I was confident (Marsh was fit), I thought he played really well in the second innings in Pune where he got 31."
WA were sitting last on the Sheffield Shield in early December, but won five of their next six games to storm back into title contention.
The Warriors would have reached the final if Tasmania had managed at least a draw against South Australia in the final round.
But in the end, the Warriors had to settle for third spot after the Redbacks secured victory.
Langer was proud of his team's effort, and is optimistic about what lies ahead for the young and talented squad.
One of Langer's tasks ahead of next season will be to name a new captain after Adam Voges announced his retirement from Australian domestic cricket.