Mitchell Marsh ‘sure’ to play as specialist batsman during ODIs in India

Allrounder Mitchell Marsh will return from a three-month injury lay-off as the specialist batsman ahead of Australia’s ODI series in India.
After not playing since the ODI series against England last November, the 31-year-old Marsh was named in Australia’s 16-man squad on Thursday for the three-match series starting on March 17 in Mumbai.

Marsh has recovered from keyhole surgery on his left ankle, having struggled with the injury throughout his career. He has missed the entire BBL season but will make his return for Western Australia against Tasmania in the 50-over Marsh Cup on Sunday. He is also expected to play in the Marsh Cup final on March 8 before traveling to India in a series that is seen as an important warm-up ahead of the World Cup later in the year.

“It’s been a solid three-month rehab, which has been well planned,” Marsh told reporters in Hobart. “I’ve had no turning back and I’m looking forward to getting back into it now.”

Marsh, however, is not ready to return to bowling. “I haven’t started bowling, I’ll take that up in the next few weeks,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll play as a [specialist] batter. For now, it’s a bit of a luxury to come back as a batsman and we’ll see how the bowling goes. But I’ve done the work, the rehab has gone according to plan and I’m ready to go.”

When fit and firing, Marsh is an important cog in Australia’s white-ball teams characterized by his powerful batting and accurate seam bowling. He has also been circled as a possible T20I captain for Australia following the recent departure of Aaron Finch.

Marsh’s repaired ankle will hopefully help extend his game across all formats as he looks to end a nearly four-year drought in Test cricket.

“All formats are on the cards for me,” said Marsh, who played 32 Tests between 2014 and 2019. “I’ve got a lot of cricket in my body. I’ve always liked being an all-rounder, which allows me to be in the game at all times moment.I will continue to be an all-rounder as long as I can.

“The [surgery] It wasn’t a decision taken lightly, especially how much I love playing for the Perth Scorchers. For my career, long-term, and with the Ashes – which I hope to be part of the squad – and the World Cup this year, I wanted to make sure I had a lot of cricket under my belt.”

Marsh missed out on the Scorchers’ epic BBL title defence, although he had an unforgettable celebration of their pulsating final win against the Brisbane Heat as he ran into Optus Stadium with his jubilant team-mates moments after batsman Nick Hobson hit the winning runs.

“If you saw the way I hit the ground running when they won, I felt like I was playing,” Marsh said. “That’s the culture we’ve cultivated, we want to produce Australian cricketers [Western Australia] make the Shield final, I’ll watch it again but I’ll be cheering just as loudly.”

Having watched Australia’s Tests in Indian grounds in awe, Marsh foresees different conditions for the ODI series.

“The wickets for the ODIs are quite flat and highly rated,” he said. “I’d be surprised if we get anything different. The guys will be well prepared so they’ll be raring to go.”

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