Marsh reveals game plan in place for Poms
CRICKET: Mitchell Marsh is confident he now has the game to succeed at the highest level but even he was a little bit surprised when he was added to Australia's squad so soon after returning to bowling duties.
Marsh is in a two-way race with Peter Handscomb to play the third Test starting in Perth on Thursday, with conditions expected to play a major role in which man is preferred.
If the deck is as flat as expected, then Marsh's handy seamers could tip the scales in his favour.
But it's his contributions with the bat which will come under the most scrutiny from the Australian public.
The Perth local's Test average sits at a humble 21.74 and he has only passed 50 twice in 35 innings.
By comparison, Mitchell Starc averages two more runs (23.89) and has passed 50 nine times in 58 innings.
Nevertheless, Marsh is confident he now has the game to succeed at the highest level. The 26-year-old sits seventh among run-scorers in this season's Sheffield Shield (402 runs at 44.66) and has recent scores of 141 and 95.
"I know I'm in great form at the moment which is really good for my confidence going into this game if I do get picked,” Marsh said.
"I've certainly had a lot of time to think about that (batting) over the last nine months.
"I've got that to a point now where I really do have a solid game plan I'm going to stick to no matter what distractions I have around me.
"That's probably something I've struggled with in the past. I've got a game plan I'm going to stick to and that's all that matters.”
Marsh has not played for Australia since March, having flown home from India for shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the entirety of the winter.
He returned to playing duties at the start of the domestic season as a specialist batsman for Western Australia only resuming life as an all-rounder in late November.
Tellingly he was added to Australia's squad at the soonest possible opportunity.
"I probably didn't have it in my plans to be playing (for Australia) so soon,” Marsh said. "More so because of the injury.
"It's happened a little bit faster than I expected but at the same time I wasn't shocked. I'm ready to go if I get picked.”
The right-hander has only bowled 22 overs this season and taken two wickets, but encouragingly he got through 13 overs in a single innings last week and is confident his body is ready to return to the five-day game.
"In a Test match there's no such thing as restrictions. You go in as hard as you can. If I get an opportunity to play I'll bowl as many overs as Smudger (Smith) needs me to,” March said.
Two and a half years ago Marsh was dropped from Australia's XI to make way for brother Shaun Marsh, scuppering a childhood dream of playing an Ashes Test together.
It's a dream that could finally come true on Thursday in the WACA Ground's final Ashes Test. But he knows only one thing matters.
"I'm now at the stage where I've just got a job to do if I get an opportunity to play and that's all that matters regardless of where I'm playing,” he said.
"We're playing an Ashes Test and we've got an opportunity to win a series. All I'm focusing on is if I get an opportunity is making sure I do my job for the team.”