Just like clockwork, Shaun Marsh’s return to Australia’s line-up for the first Ashes Test at the Gabba has caused a stir among cricket fans.
It is the eighth occasion he has been recalled to the Test arena since he made his debut in 2011 but maybe, just maybe, there is method to what many will consider is the madness of Australia’s selectors.
Australia Test squad
- Steve Smith (c)
- David Warner (vc)
- Cameron Bancroft
- Usman Khawaja
- Peter Handscomb
- Shaun Marsh
- Tim Paine
- Mitchell Starc
- Pat Cummins
- Nathan Lyon
- Josh Hazlewood
- Jackson Bird
- Chadd Sayers
Marsh’s form for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield so far this season has been solid, amassing 236 runs from six innings at an average of 39.33 with three half-centuries to his name.
One of those half-centuries was a classy 91 while opening for Warriors against New South Wales earlier this month, when the Blues were fielding Australia’s expected Test bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
The 34-year-old Marsh was the highest run-scorer in the domestic one-day cup, which was won by the Warriors, with 412 runs at an average of 82.40 and a strike rate of 87.47, including a top score of 132 not out.
Warriors coach and retired Test opener, Justin Langer, believes Marsh is in the best form of his career based on his domestic performances and backed his inclusion in Australia’s squad prior to Friday’s announcement.
Did the selectors make the right call?
Here’s what you think.
Firstly, you weren’t happy that Shaun Marsh was recalled (with a few exceptions)
Scott R summed it up: “Marsh?? Again??? Seriously???”
And the comments didn’t get much kinder…
“Dropping Renshaw is harsh on him. Picking Marsh is harsh on Australia,” Damien P said.
“I cannot believe Shaun Marsh gets another chance. How many opportunities does one cricketer get!” Neil S said.
“Shaun Marsh has more lives than a cat. He seems like an unhealthy obsession for the selectors. Maybe he’ll finally pay off but I won’t hold my breath,” Mark F said.
“Absolute shock at the selection of Shaun Marsh, the guy’s in and out more than a yo-yo,” Mark H said.
For what it’s worth, these were Marsh’s defenders
“If Marsh bats in the middle order, as expected, that might be giving him a good run at it as he is an opener or number 3,” Seamus B said.
“Happy with the team. Marsh is class despite previous injury issues,” Darren G said.
“Shaun Marsh’s bromance with the selection committee continues but he may well be the saviour this time and finally deliver on all that selector love,” Andrew L said.
You were also surprised that Tim Paine is back, but not pleasantly so
The wicketkeeper’s four previous Test appearances came in 2010, so his inclusion was unexpected, especially given he was contemplating retirement earlier this year.
“Tim Paine is the stupidest selection ever, but only if you ignore the fact that Shaun Marsh has also been picked,” Alex D said.
“Really disappointed to see Paine in there. With only one first class hundred, 11 years ago, he wasn’t the right pick,” Jake W said.
“The Paine pick would’ve made sense in 2010, and he hasn’t been keeping a lot in recent Shield seasons, so why pick him now?” Phillip M said.
“Unfortunately there’ll be a lot of pressure on Paine … if he fails all the naysayers will be out in force,” said Brenton B.
“Three words – Bring back Nevill!” Sarah B said.
“Tim Paine should consider themselves very lucky, and is surely a stop-gap measure,” Kieran H said.
But Peter H will be able to say “I told you so” if Paine succeeds, given he called him a “great selection”.
Meanwhile, Cameron Bancroft will make his debut, and you’re happy for him (though you’re disappointed for Matthew Renshaw)
Bancroft replaces Renshaw as opener for the first Test of the series beginning on Thursday.
“I like the Bancroft decision, tells the boys who missed out that you have to perform to earn your spot — that’s what selection should be based on,” Ethan R said.
“Bancroft has been terrific in first-class cricket, but [Glenn] Maxwell has gone through those bad times and as I said he’s slowly finding his place in the team,” Ayush A said.
“Bancroft demanded selection and has been in the selectors’ thoughts for some years. Unlucky for Renshaw, but he is only 21 and will get another chance down the line,” David C said.
“Renshaw is unlucky, but with Bancroft knocking the door down with runs it is understandable and probably for the best,” Lucas B said.
“Should have been Renshaw opening and Bancroft at 6,” Matt S said.
“How can you drop Renshaw? Such young talent — barely given a chance — and dropped for supposed immediate success. That’s not how you build a legacy. And Shaun Marsh? Don’t get me started,” Declan K said.
“Renshaw dropped after averaging 60+ last Australian summer is disgraceful,” Isaac W said.
Finally, you’d like to see Chadd Sayers given a bowl (those of you who have heard of him, that is)
“Very happy to see Chadd Sayers get a run,” Tim J said.