Qantas Tour of South Africa
Marsh to undergo ankle surgery
Allrounder set to miss county stint with Surrey, targeting limited-overs tour of England for return
4 April 2018, 04:29 PM AEST
Allrounder Mitch Marsh has been forced to pull out of a county stint in the United Kingdom and appears is in doubt for Australia's next Test campaign due to an ankle injury.
Surrey, the London-based club the Western Australian had been preparing to join for the 2018 English domestic season, confirmed Wednesday that Marsh will have surgery on his ankle next week.
The 26-year-old this summer established himself in Australia's Test side on the back of two centuries during the recent Ashes series but has battled ongoing pain and stiffness in the joint.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson said Marsh is targeting a return for the start of the Australian summer, meaning he’s unlikely to feature in Australia’s limited-overs tour of the United Kingdom in June.
He’ll also be in a race against time to be right for Australia's next Test assignment, an away series against Pakistan expected to be held in September or October later this year. Details of the trip are still yet to be confirmed.
In a statement, Surrey did not discount the possibility of Marsh playing for the club later in the northern summer.
“I’m extremely disappointed to be missing the start of the season. I was looking forward to heading over and joining the Surrey family,” said Marsh.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get myself fully fit and hopefully join the side later in the season.”
Surrey is coached by former Australia batting coach Michael DiVenuto, and has signed the likes of Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith and Kumar Sangakkarra in recent years. They play their home games at The Oval.
Director of cricket Alec Stewart has begun the search for an overseas replacement for Marsh, according to Surrey’s statement.
The club been linked with batting maestro Virat Kohli, who is set to lead India on a five-Test tour of England later this year.
Steve Smith, who today confirmed he would not appeal Cricket Australia's 12-month suspension from international cricket, could also conceivably be an option to replace his countryman.
Smith's sanctions preclude him from playing domestic cricket in Australia but is free to play first-class cricket in other nations. The batsman has pulled out of his stint with Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals.
Marsh has been set to play for Surrey in all three formats, with the county to set to begin their four-day County Championship campaign later this month.
His decision to join the club meant he forwent a stint in the Indian Premier League, where he would have likely fetched a high price.
“This is a big blow for both Surrey and Mitch so close to the start of the English season but we wish Mitch all the best in his recovery,” said Stewart.
Marsh is set to spend a second straight winter recovering from surgery, having had his shoulder operated on after flying home from Australia's Test tour of India last year.
He spent the early stages of the recent domestic summer playing as a batsman only before making a triumphant return to international cricket in December's third Test against England in his hometown Perth.