Cricket Australia (CA) released all-rounder Mitchell Marsh to play for Perth Scorchers in their Big Bash League (BBL) season opener on Thursday, as he looks to make a bid to return into Test XI for the Boxing Day Test against India.If the second Test in Perth goes the distance, CA has confirmed that the XI playing there won’t be available for their BBL clubs before December 22 when the third Test squad assembles in Melbourne.
The members of the third Test squad won’t be available for BBL matches on December 22-24, with a decision on player availability after Christmas to be made when the XI for Boxing Day Test is confirmed. The three non-playing members of the Test squad for the opening two Tests against India — Marsh and seamers Peter Siddle and Chris Tremain — will be released to play in the BBL this week.
It means Siddle will be available to play in the opening match of the T20 tournament between his side Adelaide Strikers and the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Wednesday, while Marsh (Scorchers) and Tremain (Renegades) are free to play for their respective teams at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on Thursday.
The Australians have opted for just four bowlers for the opening two Tests on pitches that have offered plenty of assistance, but they might need an extra bowling option if surfaces are flatter at the MCG and SCG in the next two Tests.
“As this series wears on and you get to places where the wicket is a bit flatter and conditions a bit warmer and bowlers a little more tired, he might have more of a role to play,” Paine said of Marsh ahead of the opening Test in Adelaide.
“We’ll send him (Mitch) back to Shield (cricket), get some more cricket under his belt knowing at some stage we’re probably going to need him.”
Scorchers skipper Mitch, played for Fremantle in Western Australia Premier Cricket on Saturday after he was overlooked for his home Test this week. The all-rounder was dropped for the opening India Test in favour of batsman Peter Handscomb, but skipper Tim Paine left the door open for Marsh to return to the side later in the series.
Handscomb has managed scores of 34, 14 and 7 so far in the series and could end the debate about Mitch’s return with a big score in the second innings in Perth. After scores of 21 and 11 in his return to the JLT Sheffield Shield last week, Marsh said he was “shattered” to be dropped but added he understood he’d left himself vulnerable to the axe.
“I was obviously very disappointed to miss out in the first Test but I understood the reasons why,” he said.
“Ultimately, you’ve got two ways to go about it — you can either sulk and go into your shell or you can put a smile on your face and enjoy the hard work, enjoy the challenge of getting back into that Test side.
“Every Test match you miss out on – it’s shattering. I got plenty of messages of support. I cop a fair bit but I do have a lot of people who care about me and always have support for me.”
First Published: December 15, 2018, 4:45 PM IST