Marsh in line to return to top level
John Inverarity and Shane Watson in the nets on Sunday. Photo: Brendan Esposito
LESS than three months after being stood down by his Big Bash League franchise, and then dumped by his state, Shaun Marsh is set to complete an international resurrection by winning a place in Australia's Twenty20 side.
Marsh, the BBL's leading runscorer this season, is tipped for a recall to the squad, to be named on Monday.
Australia must fill the gap vacated by Michael Hussey, who has retired, for Saturday's game against Sri Lanka at ANZ Stadium and the game at the MCG the following week.
Shane Watson, the player of the tournament at the World Twenty20 championships in Sri Lanka last year, was put through a fitness test on his injured calf in the SCG nets on Sunday as selectors John Inverarity and Andy Bichel looked on.
The selectors must decide whether to recall him in the limited-overs arena, or via a stint in the Sheffield Shield.
Marsh, 29, has made a compelling audition for re-inclusion, bludgeoning 412 runs for BBL finalist Perth Scorchers at an average of 58.85 and a strike rate of 128.
The BBL's player of the season, Aaron Finch, is also expected to gain a spot in Australia's top order, while Ben Rohrer - Finch's Melbourne Renegades teammate - is in the mix to make his international debut.
Marsh, who has played seven Tests, 36 one-day internationals and eight Twenty20 games for Australia, until last month looked light years away from representing his country again.
His reputation for profligacy hit home in October when the Scorchers stood him down for his part in a boozy night of celebration in Cape Town to mark his brother Mitchell's 21st birthday during the Twenty20 Champions League.
A fortnight later, Western Australia dropped him back to club cricket because of poor form.
While he had scored a century in his Test debut, Marsh's international career went off the rails last summer when he was blown away by a dismal series against India.
While others cashed in against a poor attack, Marsh, thoroughly out of confidence, managed only 17 runs in four Tests at a dismal average of 2.83.
The last time he played for Australia was in a Twenty20 match against India in Melbourne last February, and he duly lost his central contract.
The BBL's leading wicket-taker for the season, the Hobart Hurricanes' Ben Laughlin, is in line for his first Australian appearance in nearly four years, while Ben Cutting, who was outstanding for finalists Brisbane Heat, is also strongly in contention.
There would be few more applauded selections than Rohrer, who has not played a shield match for NSW this season but starred in the BBL.
The 31-year-old swapped the Sydney Sixers for Melbourne when the Renegades offered him a chance in the top order and he pummelled 295 runs at an average of 49 and a strike rate of 152.