I’ve made great strides as a batsman: Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh (Getty Images)

Despite missing out in the first Test, Australia vice-captain Mitchell Marsh feels he has made tremendous strides as a batsman. Marsh, guilty of inconsistency in the initial stages of his career, struck a brilliant 162 against Pakistan A ahead of the first Test in Dubai, but failed to make much of an impact scoring 12 and 0 as Australia escaped with a draw.

That said, the 26-year-old believes that him putting extra effort and concentration in his batting has helped improve his game and made him a lot more consistent.

“Yes, I have come a long way in that sense. Eighteen months ago, I had no routine in between balls. I used to think a lot between balls and that was part of my mental game I really needed to improve,” Marsh told Cricbuzz. “I feel that is where I have made my biggest strides in batting sense. Now, I’m more consistent than I have ever been in my preparations. The format doesn’t really matter. From a mental perspective, you need to play more shots in limited overs cricket, but my routine remains the same and that has helped me remain consistent.”

The one aspect of his batting which Marsh has truly worked towards is facing spin. During his knock of 162 he looked a lot assured against spinners. The allrounder suggested that his preparation during the winter has placed him in a better space and that practicing against spin is something he and his coach have been paying keen attention on.

“My batting coach back home, Scott Meuleman, has had a massive influence on my cricket and my life really. We practice spin bowling in every net session now, which is something we don’t necessarily do a lot in Australia because we don’t face a lot of it,” Marsh said. “The ball doesn’t turn a lot back home, so it’s easier to play spin bowling in Australia. I have really focused a lot on my footwork against spin and also to score in different areas, hopefully, that will help me in the shorter formats as well. I know that is the area I need to improve and get better. Meuleman has had a big impact on me playing spin and how I go about it.”

Ahead of the second Test starting today, Australia captain Tim Paine had suggested that he might reshuffle the batting order to get the maximum out of the batsmen. And it is likely that the tweak will involve Marsh. The younger Marsh brother batted at No. 4 in both innings at Dubai, but it is a possibility that he might be pushed a position down and promote Travis Head up.

“I mean I’ve got an opportunity at No.4 now, whether I bat at No.4 in this Test match, they might split up the debutants,” he said. “I will bat anywhere, but as a batter you want to bat as high as you can and get stuck in as quickly as you can. I bat No.4 for Western Australia in all formats and love that so, hopefully, I can seize on this chance.”

With a high-profile four-Test series against India lined-up in December, Marsh pointed out that Australia are excited to be hosting the No. 1 team in the world.

“We have spoken about it as a team. Every series we play for Australian is big. You try not to think about it too much, but there is a bit of excitement coming up against the best team in the world this summer. Hopefully, Australians get right behind us and we are going to need them,” Marsh said.