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T20 World Cup: Mitchell Marsh fitness concerns continue

3 minute read

Mitchell Marsh has been selected to lead Australia in their bid to win the upcoming T20 World Cup, but there remain fitness concerns due to a hamstring injury which has cut short his IPL involvement.

Picture: bet365

Marsh has returned to Australia to continue his recovery ahead of the global tournament in the West Indies and United States which starts on June 2, with the Baggy Greens first in action four days later.

The Aussies open up Oman in Barbados on Thursday June 6, with coach Andrew McDonald looking to oversee a second victory in the tournament in its last three stagings, with Australia 4.50 to lift the trophy.

Marsh is very much a batting all-rounder and he has bowled less than one over per match across in 54 T20I appearances to date.

Marsh back in action but bowling has to wait

Marsh has now recovered sufficiently to take some part in the first training camp ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is a limited affair with 10 of the 15-man squad for the tournament still away at the IPL.

The 32-year-old has been able to bat in practice but is not yet fit enough to bowl in the nets, although McDonald says he is not too worried about that situation with nearly three weeks between now and the tournament beginning in the Caribbean.

Coach McDonald told reporters: "The first game is just short of a month away now, so ample time for him to get ready.

"We'll be able to cherry-pick the moments during the tournament where he'll be useful with the ball. We've got some all-round depth in the squad, which gives us good coverage anyway."

In truth Marsh has not been a key performer with the ball for the Baggy Greens in T20I cricket, bowling just 50 overs and taking 17 wickets in 54 outings, so it would not be a major blow should he be unable to bowl at the World Cup.

He has not bowled in 29 of his T20I appearances, although he got through three overs in each of his last two matches, both against New Zealand.

Far more important for Australia is to have Marsh to fit and able to lead the team and play a full part with the bat, having smashed an unbeaten 77 not out in the eight-wicket 2021 T20 World Cup final victory over the Black Caps.

Australia have plenty of all-round cover

When selecting their 15-player squad for the action in the USA and the Caribbean, Australia have certainly looked to all-rounders rather than specialist batters, so there are plenty of options to cover if Marsh's role is reduced.

Seam bowling all-round options are available from both Cameron Green and Marcus Stoinis, with Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar the spin bowling all-rounders to support leg-spin ace Adam Zampa.

The concern could be that both Green and Stonis have struggled with injuries in recent times and should one of those two go down again, then Marsh would definitely be needed in a bowling role.

Australia are expected to take one reserve player with them to the tournament and involved in the training camp are Aaron Hardie, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Matt Kuhnemann, Xavier Bartlett and Marnus Labuschagne.

Hardie is the most obvious like-for-like option to take over if Marsh suffers a setback, with Short also a genuine all-rounder, but a purveyor of off-spin rather than seam.

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