Former Australia batsman Mike Hussey has backed the Australian selectors’ decision to bring back Shaun Marsh in the squad for the Ashes. There has been plenty of criticism for the selectors following the shock squad that has seen Tim Paine get a call-up ahead of Matt Renshaw, Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill. Another change saw Western Australia’s Cameron Bancroft get a maiden call-up into the squad.
Even though many eyebrows have been raised with Paine returning after a seven year hiatus, the criticism has more been towards handing Marsh an eighth chance since making his Test debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka. His injury history, age (34) and the numerous chances afforded with no real returns have also added to the points. But Hussey backs the decision considering his current form.
“I can see why there’s all the talk about it, but at the end of the day he’s a class player and a quality player,” Hussey said on the special edition of The Unplayable Podcast as per cricket.com.au. “If you ask any first-class player around the country if Shaun Marsh is playing at his best, he’s in the best six batsmen in the country. And he is playing at his best at the moment. His body is good, so why wouldn’t you go for the best?
“There’s no point saying we don’t want to pick him because we’re worried he might get injured. Well, he might not. We’re worried he’s had seven chances in the past. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to take his chance this time. He’s playing well, he is one of Australia’s best six batsmen, so let’s get him in there.”
“I personally actually think it’s a good selection and I also think he’s at a stage in his career … I know it’s such a huge series, but I think he knows his game so much better now. He’ll be comfortable in his own skin, he’ll have the experience to be able to handle the situation a lot better than perhaps he has done in the past. For all the Australian fans out there, we all hope he can take his chance on this occasion,” he added.
Marsh is expected to take up the number six spot which former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believed was a sure choice for Hilton Cartwright with Glenn Maxwell another one in the fray.
With 23 Tests under his belt, Hussey believes Marsh got the nod due to his experience and current form. “We can argue until the cows come home about who that best No.6 batsman is,” Hussey said. “Is it Cartwright, is it Maxwell, is it Shaun Marsh – and perhaps the selectors have gone on current form. Shaun Marsh in the one-day cup had been sensational and in the JLT Sheffield Shield has looked really good. He’s got three half-centuries so far, a good (91) against that Test attack (of Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon) for NSW.”
“He’s at a stage in his career where he’s probably figured his game out, so having that experience in a huge series like an Ashes probably counted for him and helped him in his selection,” he further said.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.