How Marsh handled the internet trolls

Allrounder discusses different approach to online criticism and how captaincy has changed him

Mitch Marsh returns to international cricket a more obstinate operator with bat, ball and smartphone.

The 2015 Ashes was a changing of the guard in Australian cricket, with Shane Watson handing the baton on to Marsh.

Marsh became the nation's premier allrounder when Watson was ushered into Test retirement by national selectors.

The title came with baggage.

Marsh also became the No.1 target for trolls, furious at his inability to translate immense potential into immaculate performance.

Two-and-a-half years on, Marsh remains a much-maligned figure as he awaits an expected recall for the third Magellan Ashes Test, which starts on Thursday in Perth.

"I went through a stage where I read everything, Facebook comments and all that sort of stuff," Marsh told reporters in Perth.

"At the time, it made me feel pretty s***, to be honest.

"I find them quite funny now and I actually think it's great that the Australian public can be so passionate about sport.

I didn't think it would happen this soon: Marsh

"People are entitled to their opinion, so it's all good ... I just let it go. I just stopped caring really."

Marsh noted he stopped reading "everything" eight months ago, around the time he returned home from a Test tour of India to undergo a shoulder reconstruction.

The 26-year-old has since been appointed captain of Western Australia and found form with the bat, including a century in his most-recent JLT Sheffield Shield outing at the WACA Ground.

WA coach Justin Langer believes captaincy has made Marsh a better batsman. Marsh agrees.

"When you go out to play and you've got to worry about 10 other guys and getting the best out of the team, it takes a lot of the heat off yourself and that's really helped me," Marsh said.

"The added responsibility of making sure that I'm leading from the front on the field has really helped."

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Not being able to bowl has also allowed Marsh extra time to work on his batting.

"I've learned a lot about what I need to do to," he said.

"For me to be playing Test cricket, I've got to be the sixth-best batsman in Australia, batting at No.6. That's always been the case and my bowling has always been a bonus."

However, Marsh realises it's his bowling that would give him the nod ahead of Peter Handscomb this week, if selectors opt for change.

Having started to bowl last month off the long run, he is ready to deliver as many overs at the WACA as Steve Smith wants.

"I've been bowling for a while and the body feels good," Marsh said.

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21