Mitchell Marsh is getting closer to a Test debut after impressing so far on Australia’s one-day tour of Zimbabwe.
Mitchell Marsh has rocketed into calculations for a Test debut against Pakistan in the UAE in October.
Australian cricket believe they have a future star in the 22-year-old allrounder from Perth, and are keen to fast-track his development.
In one-day cricket, Michael Clarke says Marsh has the skills to bat at No.3 for Australia and open the bowling.
Although at this stage of his development he won’t be doing both at the same time.
However, Clarke and those in high places at Cricket Australia have had their eye on Marsh for a long time now and hope he’s ready to fulfil his potential – after a rocky time with injury and off-field discipline.
There’s a floating position in the Australian Test batting order which still appears open, with Alex Doolan not doing enough on debut in South Africa to make him an automatic selection against Pakistan.
Marsh’s seam-bowling ability in trying conditions, on a tour in which Ryan Harris and James Pattinson are unavailable and fellow allrounder Shane Watson is coming back from an ankle injury, makes Marsh an attractive proposition somewhere in the top six.
Clarke admits Marsh is closer to realising his dream in the longer format.
“Mitch is full of talent, full of potential,” said Clarke.
“I think over the past few years his performances have improved in the first-class system so he certainly warrants selection in the shorter format. And I know he has a very clear goal he wants to play Test cricket.
“There’s stiff competition in the allrounder position with Watto, James Faulkner and Moises (Henriques).
“That’s exciting for us.
“It’s nice to have some options and it’s going to come down to performance. Whoever is grabbing their opportunity with both hands and stepping up are going to get to see all formats of the game.”
Marsh scored 89 from 83 in his first shot at No.3 in an ODI against Zimbabwe last Monday and he was a star performer with the ball for Australia A through a winter series against South African and Indian touring teams.
Clarke told Marsh prior to flying to Zimbabwe that he had a chance to make the most of No.3 with Watson out injured.
The skipper doesn’t know whether he is a permanent first-drop option, with Australia not short on top order batting options looking ahead to the World Cup.
However what he likes about Marsh is his versatility – and it’s clear there’s opportunities opening up for the talented youngster if he’s good enough.
“I spoke to Mitch in Brisbane … and obviously I made it clear for him to make the most of that and try and grab it with both hands,” he said.