Test great Mike Hussey believes Australia will contemplate dropping Shaun Marsh for the home summer after his lean run continued in Abu Dhabi.
Marsh managed just 14 runs from four innings in the two-Test series against Pakistan, stretching his run of consecutive Test knocks without a half-century to 12.
Since posting two hundreds and two fifties in a breakthrough Ashes campaign last summer, the left-hander has averaged 13 in six Tests and former teammate Hussey says his position will come under scrutiny heading into the four-match Domain Test series against India in December.
"At the end of the day, you do need to be scoring runs," Hussey told Wisden this week of the 35-year-old.
"There's going to be a lot of discussion about his place in the team.
"Once you start getting into your 30s, mid-30s, you can't afford to have a run like that.
"Because everyone starts talking about your position in the team - is that the end of your career? - and that extra pressure builds up on you as well."
With Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft suspended and Usman Khawaja opening the batting, Marsh has gone from batting at No.5 during the Ashes and the tour of South Africa to coming in at No.3 in the Pakistan series.
He was moved up the order again on Thursday, asked to open due to an injury to Khawaja, and was bowled by a magnificent delivery from Pakistan debutant Mir Hamza, handing the left-armer his first Test wicket.
Marsh’s series average of 3.5 is remarkably not the lowest of his career in a single series; he averaged 2.42 from four Tests when India toured Australia in 2011-12.
The left-hander’s tendency to be dismissed just moments after he’s arrived at the crease has been a problem that’s dogged him throughout his career; 25 of his 59 dismissals in Tests – more than 42 per cent - have been single-figure scores, while he averages almost 60 when he passes 10.
"When he's on song, he's just unstoppable and looks a supreme batsman," Hussey said.
"But then when he does start having a run of low scores, he gets into this hole and he finds it extremely difficult to work his way out of it.
"It must be very frustrating for him."
Former Test spinner Shane Warne said Shaun’s young brother Mitchell, who was recently elevated to the vice-captaincy, is also under pressure for a big score.
"The Australian system has invested a lot of time, money and effort into those guys," Warne told SEN of the WA pair.
"And at the moment, they just haven’t done it.
"Shaun Marsh is 35 years of age and not quite doing it, he is too inconsistent, he is on a bad patch of form.
"Mitchell Marsh averages 26 or something in Test cricket, and his last 10 innings have been really ordinary."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Pakistan Test squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez
Oct 7-11: First Test, drawn
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi