Mitchell Marsh : The Player who has come of age

Mitchell Marsh : The Player who has come of age

Becoming a reasonably good batsman or bowler is not easy as it requires lot of commitment and effort from a particular player. The task becomes even more difficult if someone is gearing up to be an all-round star of the team. Concentrating on batting and bowling at one go is the toughest job in cricket and this is the only reason behind less number of efficient all-rounders in the game. Mitchell Marsh, the young Australian lad is gearing up himself to be the next big thing in Australian cricket. The best part about him is his ability to apply brain during the course of batting and bowling. He was one of the star performers in the recently concluded English tour. The Aussies were hammered by their opposite numbers but Marsh somewhat managed to regain his form despite facing tough time. If we judge by performance, junior Marsh is the best young allround cricketer at the moment.


Australians have always enjoyed the service of great all-rounders since the inception of the game. Till recent times, it was Shane Watson who was embarked with a responsibility of performing as an all-round star of the team. However, the loss of form and regular injury incident has pushed him down the order. Watto has also retired from the longest format of the game. James Faulkner, the other all-round cricketer is famous for his exploits in the shorter formats which again gives an edge to Mitchell Marsh because of his liking for all version of the game. The 23-year old Marsh who was tipped as the one for future has surely lived up to the hype in the recent matches. Apart from managing decent scores with the bat in the Ashes, he also scalped wickets whenever handed the opportunity by his captain. His reputation took an upward swing in the ODI series because of his Man of the Series award. He accumulated 134 runs and 8 wickets in the five-match series which was won by Australia (3-2). Let me remind you that he bats at number 6 which is one of the toughest places to perform in cricket. He has everything in him to replace Shane Watson across formats. The Australian team is lucky to have a star youngsters like him in the squad who has several more years up his sleeve.


He was a spoiled brat in the starting phase of his career. The young lad was disciplined by Cricket Australia on couple of occasions. From regular drinking incidents to his part habits, Mitchell Marsh was heading for a disaster as far as his career was concerned. In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Marsh said Western Warriors coach Justin Langer and captain Adam Voges had helped him develop a strong work ethic. Marsh admitted he cried when he lost his spot in the Perth Scorchers for the final Champions League Twenty20 game in South Africa in 2012 as punishment for a boozy night marking his 21st birthday. Marsh might have had a reputation as a party boy, but he said 14 of the squad’s 15 players were celebrating that night. “I was certainly very upset,” he said. “It wasn’t in a sense of ‘where’s my career at’, it was more out of disappointment at the way that situation was handled, and it’s obviously something that I look back on and certainly regret, but I was certainly upset at the way it was handled. Looking back now, it feels like such a long time ago, and I’ve certainly come a long way as a person and a cricketer since then. It’s more a distant memory now.” When Langer began to coach WA, he taught the players not to celebrate each win in a way that could come between them and their ultimate goal, a Sheffield Shield. “Probably the best thing he does for us, because we’ve got such a young group and a young squad, he just instils great morals and work ethic for all of us moving forward,” Marsh said. He also singled out Voges, who recently made his own Test debut, for praise. “He’s someone I look up to massively. It was amazing to see him make his Test debut and it was a little bit weird being a younger guy and having a baggy green before someone like him, who I look up to so much. For our young group he’s been amazing, he teaches us all so much.” However, after getting few harsh words from his coaches and father Geoff Marsh, he decided to mend his ways. The change was visible in his performance after he started taking cricket seriously. He led the domestic cricket charts which led to his selection in the national team and there is no looking back since then.


Once selected for the national side, the next challenge for the younger Marsh was to grow as a Cricketer and take his game to the next level. He is basically a bowling all-rounder who can contribute with his bat as well. In the starting phase of his career, Marsh was a medium pace bowler and was good in patches but lacked overall effectiveness. This was the time when Australia appointed former great Craig McDermott as their bowling coach. After working on the likes of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins, he took special care of Mitchell Marsh. Nowadays, the young lad is clocking close to the 140 mark rather consistently while, swinging the ball both ways. So, what changed? “Craig McDermott and I sat down after the World Cup and changed a few things in my bowling” said Mitchell, when asked about his increased pace and threat with the ball. “It’s nice to see them coming along now but I’ve got to keep working hard if I want to keep improving and be a genuine all-rounder. He (Craig) has been awesome for me, just to learn off him.” This shows that hard work and proper guidance can lead to improved results.


Mitchell Marsh is a regular member of the Aussie side in the shorter formats of the game while he is also making brief appearances in the Test squad, as we saw in the recently concluded Ashes. Now after the retirement of Shane Watson, we can assume that Marsh will have a fair shot in the longer format too. The next assignment for him and the Australian team is a trip to an improved Team Bangladesh. A lot is riding on the shoulders of junior Marsh as sub-continent is the hardest place to perform if you are an outsider. If he is willing to establish himself as a regular member of the Test squad, this would be his chance. Hopefully, he realizes the importance of this tour and continues to perform as he did in England.  

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