What’s the story?
The Marsh brothers are often the most scrutinised cricketers in Australian circles. While the elder one, Shaun, has managed to carve out a decent career at the top of the order for Australia, his brother Mitchell Marsh has not been able to do so.
Statistics compiled in the aftermath of the second Test against India in Bengaluru reveal that he is the worst batsman to play at number six in the long and illustrious history of Test cricket.
Admittedly, Mitchell also doubles up as a seamer who can send down quite a few overs. This quality makes him a valuable cricketer in the limited-overs formats. However, his batting record in Tests until now raises question marks over Australia’s decision to select him as an all-rounder in the game’s traditional format. More so, when he has bowled only sporadically as his tally of 29 wickets at 37.48 indicates.
In case you didn’t know...
Earlier in the day, Mitchell Marsh was ruled out of the remainder of the 4-match Test series in India due to a recurring shoulder injury. Australian team’s physiotherapist David Beakley stated that the 25-year-old’s injury ‘had progressively deteriorated to a point where he is unable to function at the level required’. The visitors have named Marcus Stoinis as his replacement.
The heart of the matter
From 21 Tests thus far, Mitchell has scored 674 runs at an average of 21.74 with a couple of half-centuries. Delving deeper into those numbers, his average plummets even further when the stats are filtered for his usual batting position at number six. From 25 innings at four down, he has managed only 473 runs at an average of 19.70 with a solitary fifty-plus score.
Among number six batsmen with at least 20 Tests, Mitchell’s numbers are comfortably the worst in Test history. In comparison, from the same number of matches, South Africa’s JP Duminy stands second-from-bottom with 622 runs at an average of 25.91 with one century and four fifties.
Following their catastrophic second innings collapse in Bengaluru, Australia could draft in a specialist batsman in the form of Usman Khawaja for the next Test in Ranchi. However, a recall for spin all-rounder Glenn Maxwell cannot be ruled out either. As for Mitchell, the 2017 edition of the IPL may see him back in action for Rising Pune Supergiant.
Marsh’s struggles in Test cricket are quite evident from his numbers in the batting department. A return to Shield cricket may help him sort out his technique for the longest format. It’s highly imperative that he hones in on his strongest suit which is in tune with the requirements of being a Test quality all-rounder.
"Mitch Marsh has a shoulder injury because he has been carrying the team "— Kohli is 100% right (@DennisCricket_) March 8, 2017