By Sabi Hussain
New Delhi: Apr 19, 2011
He may have lost his opening slot to little-known Mumbaikar Paul Valthaty in this edition of the Indian Premier League, but big-hitting Australian Shaun Marsh isn't complaining.
It's not the Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilscrist or inaugural edition's Orange Cap winner Marsh hogging the limelight in the fourth edition, but the 27-year-old Valthaty, who ensured two consecutive wins for the Punjab team courtsey his swashbuckling knocks that earned him back-to-back man of the match awards.
"Paul is batting really well in this season and he is a fantastic player. He has done well for the Punjab team in the last two games which helped us secure two subsequent wins. He put us in a winning position in the last two games. I am looking forward towards watching him bat again," Marsh told PTI.
Marsh received the Orange Cap for scoring most runs in the 2008 IPL tournament as an opener. Despite missing the opening four games of the tournament, the Australian was the leading run scorer in the first edition of the Twenty20 league.
Marsh said he is happy with his present batting slot and is looking to make a comeback into the Australian one-day squad with his good show for the Kings XI in the IPL.
"I had a great first IPL and had a lot of fun. I had few injuries which somewhat made my ride a little bumpy one. I am confident that I can find the same rhythm and body right this time. Playing and performing at the highest level consistently is what I am aiming for. I am feeling pretty good at the moment. It was a bit frustating (getting injured) but you can't do much with the injury situation. Obviously, if I perform well in the IPL, then it will help me win back my place in the Australian team. If I score few runs, then I will be in their scheme of things," said the left-hander.
Marsh said his ultimate dream is to play Test cricket for Australia. "It's my dream to play Test cricket for Australia. Wearing the baggy green is an ultimate for any Australian cricketer. My aim is to keep working hard and keep scoring runs and I am sure I will make it to the Test squad."
Marsh also endorsed Michael Clarke as a "strong leader" and feels that a new era in Australian cricket beckons under his leadership.
"Micahel Clarke is a great player and a great leader. He is going to be a fantastic captain for Australia for a long period of time. I am sure he is going to re-build the side," he said.
Marsh, bought by Punjab outfit for USD 400,000 at the players' auction early this year, also sounded confident of his team's chances this season and said the two not-so-impressive seasons are behind them.
The KXIP side had made the semifinals on one occasion but were ordinary during the last two seasons. "We have got a new bunch of players, new coaching staff. We have got two good wins on the trot. So we are peaking at the right time. Great challenge in front of us and we are ready for it," he said.
"It's great that KXIP side again showed faith in me and bought me back at the players' auction. It's great to be part of Kings XI again," he added.
KXIP will next play Rajasthan Royals at Mohali on April 21 and the 27-year-old is ready to face the Australian trio of Shane Warne, Shane Watson and Shaun Tait.
"I am sure we have a chat about it before playing them. They are specialist T20 players and very dangerous," he said.
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