England v Australia ODIs - Men's
One-day wheel turns again for Marsh
A consistent record and a promise of faith from his captain could see the allrounder become a key figure in Australia's middle-order
13 September 2020, 08:57 AM AEST
After a public show of support from his skipper, allrounder Mitchell Marsh feels well placed to bed down a spot in Australia's one-day side after an absence of more than two years.
Marsh celebrated his first ODI fifty since January 2018 in the opening match of Australia's three-match series against England, a patient innings of 73 coming in a match-turning century stand with Glenn Maxwell at Old Trafford.
His innings came just 24 hours after captain Aaron Finch declared the allrounder would get a "great opportunity in the next couple of years to cement that spot" in the middle order as Australia look ahead to the 2023 World Cup.
"It's certainly great to have that public confidence from Finchy," Marsh said ahead of the second game against England on Sunday.
"I know my role, I'm really clear on what I have to do and … if you do that, your position in the team takes care of itself.
"You don't really play to try and cement your spot; you're trying to play your role for the team and contribute to wins. And if I keep doing that, the team won't change too much."
Despite not being a certain selection in the ODI set-up since he debuted almost nine years ago, Marsh has quietly built a career record that puts him in good company with some greats of Australian one-day cricket.
His ODI batting average of 35.82 places him between Adam Gilchrist and Simon Katich amongst those who have scored more than 1000 runs, and of the 24 Australian men to average more than 35 with the bat in ODIs, only six – Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds, Mark Waugh, Greg Chappell, Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann – have also taken 50 wickets, a milestone Marsh (48 wickets at 36.02) will likely reach in this series.
On average, Marsh has been named player of the match every eight games he's played; he's won the award a staggering seven times, more than Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson, the same as Finch and Glenn Maxwell, and one less than Steve Smith.
Yet since Justin Langer took over as coach two-and-a-half years ago, he's been overlooked for a World Cup campaign and played just five times through a combination of injury and selection, all of them this year.
"This format has certainly been the one that I've been the most consistent in, so I take great confidence in that," Marsh said.
"I don't look up my stats too much, but I certainly love this format."
With the next World Cup to be held in India, where Australia will likely look to field two frontline spinners in their XI, balancing the side with a seam-bowling allrounder like Marsh will be vital.
"If you look at Mitch's one-day record, he averages 35 with the bat and 36 or 37 with the ball – that's a really good package," Finch said on Thursday.
"We've probably been guilty of shuffling him around to try and fit some other pieces in there at certain points. He's someone we've got a lot of confidence in. Each time he's had an opportunity he's played really well for us.
"He's got a great opportunity in the next couple of years to cement that spot; I've got huge confidence in him."
Finch's concession that Marsh has been 'shuffled around' the side during his career is underlined by the fact that he's batted in every position from No.3 to No.8 in the order, although he's spent the bulk of that time at No.5 or No.6.
In addition, it took 28 innings into his career – more than halfway – before he batted in the same spot for more than four games in a row, while he's also opened the bowling with the new ball, come on at first change, been used in the middle overs, at the death, and sometimes not at all.
But Marsh dismissed the suggestion that occasionally moving a position or two in the batting order has clouded what's expected of him.
"My role has always been reasonably clear; come in at the back half of the innings at five, six or seven and sometimes eight, if required," Marsh said.
"And with the ball, it's middle overs and sometimes bowling at the death. So I'm really clear on my role, I always have been.
"To a degree, it's probably the clearest I've been in terms of my role in recent times. But for the majority of my career … it's always coming in in the back half of the innings, so I feel really comfortable with the role in the team at the moment."
2020 Tour of England
Australia's T20 and ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood. Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood