Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia skipper Michael Clarke believes that all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has what it takes to “be a future captain”.
Marsh has already excelled in limited overs cricket and made his Test debut yesterday against Pakistan. Given that all-rounder Shane Watson, who is his main competition, is already 33, Marsh could have a long and prosperous future ahead if he takes advantage of all the opportunities he is given.
Marsh has also tasted success as a captain as he led Australia’s Under-19 squad to World Cup glory in 2010.
“I believe Mitchell Marsh can be a future captain of Australia,” Clarke wrote in his News Ltd column on Tuesday. “That might sound like a big call for a bloke who only turned 23 on Monday. But I have toured with him quite a few times now and continue to be impressed with his talent, knowledge and game awareness.
“His cricketing maturity is at least five years ahead of the date of birth printed on his passport. I don’t have any plans to give up the captaincy yet – there’s plenty more cricket left in me – but I genuinely see Mitch as future leadership material. When he sets fields, you can see that he is thinking not from the bowler’s perspective, but the batsman’s.
“He is assessing conditions, the batsman’s strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities to exploit the latter. And when he is batting, he is not one of those guys running around without a plan. He is thinking about how to construct an innings. I also love how much he cares about the team. If Mitch has a game in which he doesn’t get among the runs or wickets, he always goes out of his way to congratulate those that have. He doesn’t get lost in his own little world. He is all about the team.”
One of the major reasons why Marsh has become a prodigy in the eyes of many current and past Australian players is the fact that he spent time amongst some of the most elite cricketers during his childhood. Marsh was able to do this since his father, Geoff, coached Australia and Zimbabwe during his youth.
Interestingly enough, since Marsh made his Test debut yesterday, his family becomes only the third combination of a father and two sons to have played Test cricket. The other two families to have achieved this are the Hadlees and the Amarnaths.
“He has been exposed to overseas conditions, players and theories about the game from a young age,” Clarke wrote. “He’s obviously got plenty of talent – he might just be the cleanest hitter of the ball for a bloke who can also bowl 130kph that I’ve seen – but his understanding of the game is well beyond his years. He has an extremely bright future.”