Shaun Marsh unlikely for Boxing Day Test against Pakistan

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Shaun Marsh
Australia’s Shaun Marsh (R) celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) as captain Steven Smith (L) looks on. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Aussie southpaw Shaun Marsh is unlikely to be in contention for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan which is scheduled to be played at the MCG. His omission from the squad due to an injury might provide Nic Maddinson with another opportunity after the left-handed batsman failed to make full use of his opportunity he got so far. Marsh broke a finger during Australia’s loss to South Africa at the WACA in the first contest of the summer. Cricket Australia’s team performance chief Pat Howard stated that it was “highly unlikely” Marsh would be fit for the 2nd Test.

While speaking to the ABC Radio on Sunday Howard said that Marsh was to undergo a couple of X-rays in the next few days but his ultimate plan was to make a comeback in the BBL game for the Perth Scorchers against the Sydney Sixers on 27th December. Marsh had scored back to back centuries against Sri Lanka and backed it up with a half-century in the 1st innings of the 1st Test against South Africa.

After sustaining an injury, Joe Burns was brought in as his replacement for the 2nd Test against the Proteas but failed miserably as was eventually dropped from the squad in the 3rd Test. He was replaced by his first-class teammate Matt Renshaw and the southpaw has grabbed his opportunity with both hands in the 2 matches he has played so far.

Given his stupendous form off late, Marsh should return to the squad as soon as he passes the fitness test and might look for a comeback in the Test series in India. With Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw performing pretty well in their first two Tests, Nic Maddinson should be the possible omission from the squad once Marsh returns.

“On a personal note, you’d like to see anyone do well. It’s been really pleasing to see three debutants, two have actually put down fantastic markers,” Howard was quoted by ESPN Cricinfo. “Obviously with Nic, we all talked about Adelaide being tough. But the other thing is, there’s never the perfect opportunity.

“I’m sure Callum Ferguson would love an opportunity. And so there’s never the perfect way or perfect opportunity, and you’ve got to take what’s on offer. Nic or anybody else, when that opportunity is presented, you’ve got to come and take it with both hands. And I think that does apply no matter what the age.”

Howard conceded that there are different selection criteria for youngsters compared to the older ones and only dominating performances from the veterans in the Sheffield Shield like an Adam Voges or a Chris Rogers might earn them a call-up.

They’ve got to top the run-scoring, they’ve got to absolutely dominate in Shield,” Howard said when asked on radio by Rogers what the future was for the likes of Ferguson and Cameron White, both in their 30s. “And I think that sends a fantastic message to all the Shield players. They’ve got to play really well.

“There is the opportunity absolutely, to do that. For the younger players, you’ve got to be able to talent ID. You’ve got to be able to go ‘I’ve seen enough in this player to be able to go to the next step’. I don’t think that’s anything different from the past, but yeah, you expect higher standards [of older players].”

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