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Clearing up the mixed memories of Shaun Marsh’s career

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Polarising right from the start, it’s likely Shaun Marsh will be unfairly remembered more for his shortcomings than his success. 

After captaining WA to their first Sheffield Shield title in 23 years, 38-year-old Shaun Marsh is weighing up retirement. 

To be clear, he’s yet to do so officially. But what a way it’d be to go out.

Marsh represented Australia in every format and was known as a calm and composed, elegant, stroke-making lefty. His wagon wheel covered all quadrants and he did it with style. 

Over an illustrious 21 years, the top-order batsman scored 12,015 first-class runs at 41.43. He made 32 centuries, including six in Tests and seven in ODIs.

Across all formats, he represented Australia 126 times, including 38 Tests.

The reality is, he was the most maligned batsmen in the Australian cricket system since Shane Watson. There were times he missed out at international level, leaving fans wanting more. Often, the stage was set for Marsh to ‘explode’, but it never felt like he did.

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The surname has complicated Shaun’s brand, being the older brother of fellow star Mitch, plus the son of former opener Geoff.

And the hype only rose by such a promising start. He made his first-class debut at 17 and scored his first Sheffield Shield ton before the age of 20, in a match featuring Steve and Mark Waugh.

In 2008, March scored 81 on his ODI debut against the West Indies. Then, when a Test opportunity came in 2011, he scored a brilliant 141 in Sri Lanka.

A back injury and some inconsistent form resulted in Marsh being in-and-out of the Australian Test side until his recall in 2014, where he recorded a superb 148 in South Africa.

During the 2017/18 Ashes series down under, Marsh scored two magnificent hundreds during Australia’s 4-0 thumping of England, including an outstanding pink ball 126* in Adelaide.

Four ODI tons in 12 months earned Marsh a spot in Australia’s 2019 World Cup squad. 

And still at 35, Cricket Australia presented Marsh a contract for the 2019-20 summer, remaining a crucial contributor in ODIs.

His success extended to the Big Bash and in India, named in Player of the IPL in 2008 after being the tournament’s leading run scorer for the Kings XI Punjab.

He was a crucial cog in the Perth Scorchers’ golden era, scoring the most runs in BBL02 and helping the franchise to back-to-back titles the following seasons. He smashed 63 and 73 in those two finals, on the big stage, dishing it back at his relentless detractors. 

Bringing the Shield title back to WA would be quite the fairytale ending. His reaction only stirred up more speculation that could be it. 

“I shed a few tears and I guess the reality of what was about to happen was starting to sink in,” Marsh told reporters after the match. 

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When asked about his retirement, Marsh instead deferred to focusing on enjoying the moment.

“We’ve really earnt this, it’s been a few years in the making,” Marsh said.

“I’ll sit down with (coach Adam Voges) at some stage and we’ll see what next year looks like, but at the moment I’m not even going to think about it.”

If it is the end for Shaun Marsh, fans will remember the ups and downs as a collective. But there were far more hits than misses.

Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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