Mitch Marsh’s breakout winter trips look set to see him replace Steve Smith at the crucial No. 3 spot at the upcoming T20 World Cup.
After completing the mandatory six-day quarantine period he is currently serving in Abu Dhabi, a refreshed Marsh is shaping up to be an integral part of Australia’s attempt to win their first men’s T20 World Cup at the seventh attempt.
Promoted to the first fall, the all-rounder was a rare bright spot for the Aussies during the 10 T20s against the Caribbean and Bangladesh in July-August this year, scoring 375 runs, including four half-centuries, adding eight wickets to 13.62.
The impressive run after his promotion included scores of 45, 45 and 51 in Dhaka, which were undoubtedly worth twice as much given the devilishly difficult battle conditions.
While Marsh stressed that the entire middle order for the World Cup — which is expected to include Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade — will have to remain flexible, he indicated that he will stay at No. 3 if he retains his place.
“I dare say that if I play in this tournament, I will be listed at number three,” said the Western Australian, who skipped this year’s Indian Premier League and got engaged after returning from Bangladesh.
“But I think the beauty of our team is that we can all float from three to six or even seven, and it’s just going to be a matter of game situation and who we think is best to go to next time.
“I think I want to be on top if I play, but it’s about being adaptable and being able to flow with the guys we’ve got after me.”
Players who missed the 10 T20s against the Caribbean and Bangladesh earlier this year had been warned that their seats could be taken by those who impressed during the back-to-back tours.
An elbow injury meant Smith was among the seven latter World Cup squad members sitting out in the campaigns, played in severe biosafe bubbles and running for more than eight weeks, including the fourth-day hotel quarantine period back in Australia.
Smith has hit No. 3 overall except for six of his last 21 T20 international innings. This is also where he has played in five of his seven Indian Premier League innings this year, having been in and out of the Delhi Capitals side.
For Australia, Marsh’s comments suggest that the situation in the game at the fall of a wicket will be more relevant than a hard and fast firm slogan.
Smith’s highest score in a Capitals victory this season was an unbeaten 34 (just 25 balls) from No. 4 as he came in during the 12th over, while Maxwell has been one of the most damaging of this IPL campaign. batsmen from a fluid middle order role.
This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Marsh’s international debut and after a decade of fluctuating fortunes in all three formats, this World Cup threatens as a great opportunity for him to showcase his match-winning qualities.
His right hand showed that his strong form abroad had not left him as he made a sparkling 111 from No. 3 in his lone Marsh One-Day Cup appearance for Western Australia before heading to the Middle East.
“I probably feel more confident just in my preparation and it often allows me to go out there and just play the game and try to perform for the team,” he said.
“I know that once I’ve prepared really well, I go out there full of confidence, and that has certainly been the case for the last few months.”
Marsh has made a significant effort to improve his game against spin bowling, which will keep him in good shape as courses for the World Cup are expected to be worn down after the IPL, which is currently ending in the UAE.
Prior to the Windies tour earlier this year, the 29-year-old spoke to leg spinner Adam Zampa about how he could improve against the turntable.
“I just asked him where he would bowl to me to try to prevent me from scoring,” Marsh said.
“I’ve been working really hard on my game against spin, probably more around the rotation of the strike and to make sure I’m going to hit the middle overs in white ball cricket. So the extension tried to make sure I have plenty. of border options
“I felt like I played really well in the Caribbean and even in Bangladesh on some of the hard wickets.”
2020 World Cup for men in T20
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa . Travel Reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams
Oct 23 v South Africa in Abu Dhabi (14.00 local time, 21.00 AEDT)
Oct 28 v Qualifier A1 in Dubai (18:00 local time, 01:00 29 October AEDT)
Oct 30 v England in Dubai (18:00 local time, 01:00 31 October AEDT)
Nov 4 v Qualifier B2 in Dubai (14.00 local time, 21.00 AEDT)
Nov 6 v Caribbean in Abu Dhabi (14.00 local time, 21.00 AEDT)
CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE IC21 T20 WORLD CUP SCHEDULE 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SQUADS FOR ALL 16 TEAMS
How the teams are grouped
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, Holland, Namibia
Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Oman
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, Caribbean, A1, B2
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, B1, A2
Sign up for BKT Big Bash Tipping this season at tipping.cricket.com.au! Go for the grand prize, or join a league and welcome your friends, family and colleagues.