Chappell endorses Marsh the leader
National selector expects strong captaincy showing from WA skipper in India, with Paine's deputy role still up for grabs
6 August 2018, 05:39 PM AEST
Mitchell Marsh has an opportunity to press his claims for the Test vice-captaincy when he leads Australia A in India next month, says Greg Chappell.
But the national selector also insisted that there's no reason why a specialist fast bowler could not be named Tim Paine's deputy.
Marsh, who underwent surgery in April to clean out bone spurs on his left ankle, is set to lead Australia A in two four-day games against India A in the first half of September, with the matches expected to play a significant role in helping the national selection panel determine its batting order for the first Test against Pakistan in the UAE in October.
The Western Australia captain has been earmarked as a future leader of the national side by plenty of experts, however his constant run of injuries has counted against him.
"We do have three or four guys who are going to be quite capable," Chappell told Fairfax. "There is an opportunity for them to get some experience in leadership roles.
"We want to give them leadership opportunities and (Marsh) is one that has got that opportunity. He is captaining Western Australia and he has been identified as a leader for the future.
"He will get that opportunity (against India A) and I am sure he will do a good job.
"I saw him at the Under 19 level – he has got some natural leadership skills. The more opportunities he gets, the better he will get at it.
"Historically, we pick our team, then we pick our leaders. It needs to be somebody who can command a regular spot."
Marsh ticked that box with a breakout 2017-18 summer, in which he posted a maiden Test hundred on his home ground in Perth, then backed it up with a second in the fifth Test in Sydney.
Overlooked for the Ashes series opener, Marsh's stunning form reversal and the subsequent suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner put the 26-year-old squarely back in the leadership conversation.
"I feel like I've grown into the role a lot more in the last 12 months being captain of Western Australia," he said in May.
"(The vice-captaincy) is there, but it's not something I'm focused on solely.
"I think with where we're at as a team, the Australian cricket team, I want to become best cricketer and the best person I can be.
"If that means in time I become vice-captain of Australia, so be it, but right now my focus is on being fit and playing good cricket."
Given the unpredictability around Australia's batting order, allrounder Marsh looks to have his stiffest competition for the deputy role in off-spinner Nathan Lyon and paceman Josh Hazlewood.
Pat Cummins recently endorsed Hazlewood for the job, and Chappell says he’d have no qualms about handing the deputy role to a quick despite Australia historically shying away from fast bowler captains in Test cricket.
"It's not improbable for a fast bowler to be a leader," Chappell explained.
"I think captaincy sometimes it's considered a bit challenging – the issue with fast bowlers is they are sometimes more prone to injury than most others.
"But from a deputy point of view, I don't think it's an issue at all."
Australia A Tour of India
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Matthew Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth
One-day fixtures in Vijayawada
17 August v India A
19 August v South Africa A
21 August v India B
23 August v India A
25 August v South Africa A
27 August v India B
29 August - Quad-Series Final
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Four-day fixtures in Vizag
2-5 September v India A
8-11 September v India A