Shaun Marsh announcement sparks flood of tributes around cricket world

After 22 years of first class cricket, Shaun Marsh has announced his retirement from the sport.

Shaun Marsh.
Shaun Marsh has announced his retirement from first class cricket after 22 years playing for Western Australia. Pictures: Getty Images

Tributes have flowed for former Test cricketer Shaun Marsh, after the Western Australian announced he was retiring from state cricket after 22 seasons. Marsh, who played 126 Test and ODI matches for Australia, made his debut for Western Australia in the 2000-2001 season.

The 39-year-old, who recorded a career-best innings of 214 not-out against Victoria in 2019, admitted he no longer had the desire or physical ability to perform at the level required. Marsh will go down as one of the most prolific batters of the past two decades, having scored 12,015 first class runs at an average of 41.43.

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Marsh will continue to play in the Big Bash League for the Melbourne Renegades, but will otherwise bring his storied 22-year career to a close. After breaking into WA's Sheffield Shield side at 17, Marsh eventually hit his maiden first class century in 2003.

Winning the Laurie Searle medal for WA's best cricketer in 2007-08 put him on the radar for Australian selection, debuting in a T20 international against the West Indies in 2008. His ODI debut came days layer, culminating in him winning man of the match honours on debut after top-scoring with 87.

He would have to wait a while longer for his Test debut, selected for the 2011 tour of Sri Lanka, where he again made a century on debut. While his Test career got off to a strong start, injuries and poor form kept him from establishing himself in the side until 2014.

He remained a regular fixture for Western Australia throughout however, and ends his career as the state's third highest run-scorer behind Justin Langer and Tom Moody. A broken finger he suffered recently was the last straw for the 39-year-old, who said he was simply 'cooked' and couldn't commit any further.

Shaun Marsh, pictured here with his wife and children.
Shaun Marsh with his wife and children. Image: Getty

"Even though it's been a really difficult decision to make I know it's the right call," he said. "I've been speaking with [my wife] Bec a fair bit about it and obviously dad and my brother as well and I knew deep down inside of me it was the right decision to make.

"Over the last probably month or so, coming back into the Shield team in Adelaide and then breaking my finger again really took the wind out of me and it's been a real fight since then to come back and try to be a part of it again. As I said to the guys this morning, I couldn't come into training anymore and look them in the eyes and say that I'm 100 per cent committed to what we wanted to achieve.

"Mentally I'm cooked and physically I'm cooked, and I know this is the right decision for myself, the playing group and my family."

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Marsh comes from a family of successful cricketers, with his father Geoff playing Test cricket for Australia before later coaching WA. His brother Mitch has also played 32 Tests and 68 ODIs for Australia.

On social media, cricket fans were quick to pay tribute to Marsh's extensive contribution to Australian cricket, particularly his dedication to WA cricket.

WA cricket boss Christina Matthews and head coach Adam Voges said Marsh would leave both a compelling legacy in the state, as well as a huge hole for the team to fill. Matthews said few players had shown the dedication to state cricket that Marsh had.

Shaun Marsh holds up the Sheffield Shield trophy flanked by WA teammates.
Shaun Marsh guided WA to Sheffield Shield victory in the 2021-22 season. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

"I've been here for 12 of Shaun's 22 years and anybody who can play over two decades of cricket at the highest level is an outstanding athlete," she said. "And Shaun's proved himself to be an outstanding man around our organisation and with our team.

"You can tell the esteem in which Shaun's held with the entire men and women's playing group here today, board, families and everybody here to acknowledge Shaun and what he's given to this organisation."

Voges described Marsh as a 'champion' of the game, and noted the longevity of his career would leave a legacy for the side. "He came to WA cricket as a 17-year-old prodigy and ends as a 39-year-old father of three, a champion of WA cricket and a leader within our group," he said.

with AAP

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