T20 World Cup: Mitch Marsh honoured to lead Australia as injury on track to be ready for Oman

Aaron Kirby
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Mitch Marsh will lead Australia into the World Cup.
Mitch Marsh will lead Australia into the World Cup. Credit: Riley Churchman/The West Australian

West Australian cricket star Mitch Marsh says carrying the captaincy into next month’s T20 World Cup won’t change the approach that has resurrected his career, and confirmed his injured hamstring will be ready for game one.

The towering allrounder was on Wednesday confirmed as Australia’s leader for the World Cup in the West Indies and United States after skippering series in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.

The captaincy caps off a remarkable second chapter of Marsh’s international career, going from being on the outer of all three squads to being one of the first on every team sheet.

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And while the 32-year-old said leading his nation would be a huge honour, he added he’d learnt not to let it alter his free-flowing approach to the game.

“It’s a huge honour,” he said. “It’s not every day you get to captain Australia and lead them to a World Cup, so that’s very exciting, but one of the best things about our team is we have a lot of leaders.

“To be honest, I think one of the biggest things I’ve learnt is not to change too much.

“There’s a lot of preparation and planning that goes into a World Cup, and that will happen over the next month, but once we get there, it’s about keeping everything nice and relaxed.”

Marsh has spent the past few weeks in Perth after being forced to leave his Indian Premier League side Delhi early with a hamstring injury, but the allrounder revealed his rehab is tracking perfectly to be ready to take on Oman on June 6.

“The hammy’s good. It’s coming along really well. It’s pretty much exactly where we want it to be,” he said.

“The timing sits perfectly (for the World Cup), barring no setbacks.”

While young tyro Jake Fraser-McGurk and veteran Steve Smith were the unlucky pair left without a seat to the Caribbean, the squad features a strong WA flavour, with five of Marsh’s state teammates making the cut, including spinner Ashton Agar.

Agar missed last year’s triumphant ODI World Cup through an untimely injury, and Marsh said he was thrilled to see the 30-year-old back “where he belongs”.

“Maybe externally, it was a surprise, but internally, especially in these conditions, he’s going to add a lot of value to the group,” he said.

“A left-arm spinner in those conditions will play a vital role at some point, and we also know what Ash brings as a person, which is really important for me as a leader.

Ashton Agar is back in the Aussie squad.
Ashton Agar is back in the Aussie squad. Credit: PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP

“I’m rapt to see him back in Australian colours where he belongs.

“I think it’s a credit to WA cricket. We’ve bred a lot of these guys into the system, and it’s great to have that much representation at the World Cup.”

Australia head into the competition as one of the odds-on favourites after claiming the Test and One-Day crowns last year and could become the first team in history to sweep all three crowns in one cycle, but Marsh says while it would be an incredible achievement, it is not on the teams’ mind.

“The favouritism stuff is always interesting to me. I think if you look at this tournament now and all the teams around the world, I don’t think there can be a favourite,” he said.

Mitch Marsh will lead Australia.
Mitch Marsh will lead Australia. Credit: Riley Churchman/The West Australian

“There’s probably five, six, seven teams that can win it, and we know tournament play is all about getting things right at the right time and winning big moments, so that will be a key focus for us.

“(Unifying the trophies) is not something we’ve necessarily focused on as a group. It would never have been done before, so that will be special, but there’s so many things you’ve got to get through throughout a World Cup before you even get a crack at that.”

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