Mitch Marsh is remaining coy on whether he hopes to lead the Aussie side at this years's T20 Cricket World Cup, but the skipper is doing all the right things. Marsh was a popular winner of the Allan Border Medal and has been in superb form for the national side in all formats of the game.
However, it was his classy response to a controversial moment in the second T20 match against the West Indies on Sunday that shows Marsh has the ideal temperament to be a brilliant captain. Marsh was at the centre of the biggest controversy in Australia's 34-run victory - highlighted by Glenn Maxwell's record-breaking century - when he thought he'd run out Windies star Alzarri Joseph.
The Windies player tried for a quick run after hitting the ball to Marsh, but the Aussie skipper threw the ball to Spencer Johnson at the non-striker's end to whip the bails off. Bizarrely, umpire Gerard Abood decided that because no one in the Aussie side appealed, that Joseph wasn't out despite being short of the crease.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 11, 2024
The Aussie players briefly protested before eventually accepting the umpire's calls to get on with the game. Marsh and his teammates were adamant they had appealed but the umpire must not have heard. Showing his growing maturity and leadership in the Australian camp, Marsh says it's just one of those moments where you have to accept the umpire's decision - even when it may not be right.
“My thoughts were I probably should have appealed,” Marsh said about the incident in the aftermath. “If you look back, it was probably the right call (from the umpire). There were certain guys I thought they appealed on the boundary, but ultimately I see it as any umpiring decision, we respect it, and we’ve moved on.”
Mitch Marsh remains coy on T20 captaincy
Marsh's response is the type of thing fans love to see, in contrast to a number of teammates who were incredulous about the decision on Sunday night. The 32-year-old's actions are yet another glowing endorsement for his bid to captain Australia at this year's T20 World Cup, with Marsh giving little away when asked whether he'd like to keep the captaincy.
"We'll see," he said with a big grin, before explaining what it means to captain his nation. "It's a real privilege to lead this team. It's a huge honour," he added. "The playing group and coaching staff we've got at the moment make the job a lot easier."
Pat Cummins captains the Test one-day sides, but Australia has not had a full-time T20 skipper since retired great Aaron Finch left the role last year. Matthew Wade stepped into the T20 captaincy on an interim basis for a five-match tour of India last year, but Marsh appears favourite to lead the Aussies at the T20 showpiece in the United States and Caribbean.
Marsh will continue his captaincy duties in the third and final T20 against the West Indies at Optus Stadium on Tuesday night. The Aussies lead the series 2-0 but are keen to make it a clean sweep before they set their sights on New Zealand. "Although we've won the series, we want to win 3-0. That represents an exciting opportunity for us," Marsh said.
Marsh will also captain Australia in a three-match T20 series against New Zealand starting on February 21, which is their final scheduled run-out in the format before June's World Cup. The all-rounder will also be part of the Aussie Test side that has a two-match series against the Black Caps, starting on February 29 at Wellington's Basin Reserve.
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