Waugh’s Comments Alarming

It was astonishing to hear selector Mark Waugh declare that Mitchell Marsh has been guaranteed a spot in the starting eleven for the Second Test against South Africa in Hobart.

Rod Marsh has been getting a lot of stick for allegedly poor selections, but reading Waugh’s comments, one can’t help but feel it is he (i.e. Waugh) who has pressed hardest for Mitchell Marsh’s selection.

Waugh is quoted as saying “As a selector, you pick these guys because you think they are the best players.” Honestly, Mark, on what basis was this assessment made? One of the best players? Mitchell Marsh bats at No. 6 in the Australian Test team, but has a first-class batting average of only 29.83. How does this make him ‘one of the best’?

In 108 first-class innings, he has scored 4 centuries. Waugh said “I think he is capable of getting a hundred.” Again, Mark, what is the basis for your faith? The numbers simply don’t support your assessment, and never have.

Waugh went on to say “he is capable of getting five wickets. He is what I would call a genuine allrounder.” Mitchell Marsh has taken a five-wicket haul only once in 87 first-class innings. For Waugh to make statements like this, he needs to produce evidence, and there is none.

Waugh clearly adores Mitchell Marsh, but his reasons for including him in the Test team border on the delusional. I don’t blame Marsh at all – after all, if you’re offered a Test berth you are going to take it, aren’t you? But I do blame selectors whose stated reasons for their picks are simply untrue and cannot be backed up. Waugh & Co need to stop pretending Marsh will suddenly bloom into the Test-class all-rounder they would like him to be, and concede that he is nowhere close to meeting the high standards they set for him.

Only three, possibly four, members of the current Test team are playing well enough to justify their inclusion so Mitchell Marsh should by no means be considered the sole source of the team’s problems. He is, however, the weakest player in the team by a considerable margin and must be replaced by a genuine batsman immediately. The only selection that would make the current situation worse would be to replace him with the utterly inadequate Moises Henriques.


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