World Cup role locked, Shaun Marsh not fretting about Test selection
Shaun Marsh's 131 is his fourth hundred in eight ODIs. © AFP

Dropped from Australia’s Test squad to face Sri Lanka this month, Shaun Marsh remains a pivotal figure in ODIs but is unsure of whether he will play the five-day format again.

Before the start of the Test series against India in December, Australia’s coach Justin Langer threw down the challenge for Marsh when he said that it was “up to him to maintain that form and make it irresistible for us to pick him”. But after he averaged 26 against India in four Tests – against the backdrop of 14 runs in four innings in the UAE – Marsh’s place in Australia’s Test setup looks uncertain with the impending returns of Steve Smith and David Warner for this summer’s Ashes in England.

When announcing the squad for two Tests versus Sri Lanka this month, the chief selector Trevor Hohns stated that the door was not shut on the 38-Test veteran. Asked about his Test chances on Wednesday, Marsh replied: “I’m not too sure, it’s something I’m not going to worry about too much. I’ll just try and play some really good white-ball cricket now and see what happens.”

“My Test stuff over the last 12 months has been really disappointing, so I’ve made a conscious effort to go out there in this series to free my mind and play my way. It was obviously disappointing (to be dropped), but at the end of the day I didn’t score enough runs. You’re there to score runs and I didn’t. I tried to put it to the back of my mind and move on and really focus on the white-ball stuff coming up.”

Marsh’s 131 at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday is his fourth ODI century in eight games, and his average during this period is a superb 66.67. His status in Tests, at the age of 35, appears at a low but as an ODI batsman, Marsh is massive to a struggling Australian line-up.

Defending champions Australia have 11 ODIs lined up before they open their World Cup campaign on June 1 and Longer has locked in Marsh for the quadrennial extravaganza.

“He’ll be a big part of our World Cup campaign,” he said. “He’s turning into a great one-day international player. Four hundreds in eight games. I’m really proud of him (having) been not selected for the next Test series against Sri Lanka, a lot of guys (under) that pressure can shrivel up. And he hasn’t, he’s stood tall, he’s working really hard, he’s had a couple of good innings now and I’m really proud of Shaun.”