Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh ripped England apart with the ball in the World Cup and now he wants to do the same at Test level.
The West Australian took 5-33 to get Australia’s World Cup campaign off to a winning start against the Old Enemy in Melbourne in February.
It was that display which showed to many the potential Marsh has as an effective middle-order batsman and genuine bowling option.
Sadly Marsh’s Test career with the ball hasn’t quite been as dynamic.
The 23-year-old, who’ll line up alongside brother Shaun in Australia’s team for a three-day tour match against a West Indies President’s XI in Antigua from Wednesday, has just one wicket from his four Test appearances.
A lifeless Dubai pitch on debut against Pakistan surely didn’t help but Marsh is viewing a two-Test tour in the Caribbean as the perfect opportunity to turn around his bowling record in the long format.
“Dubai was a tough initiation, I won’t lie to you,” Marsh said.
“My bowling is something that I’m just trying to improve on.
“As I get older and stronger hopefully I’ll add a few k’s and I’m really working hard with Craig McDermott every session to try and improve. I’m sure in the next six months I’ll be able to put some wickets on the board.”
If Marsh can regain his Test spot for the opening match against the West Indies in Dominica on June 3 it’ll be a great opportunity to show what he can do with the ball.
Australia are largely expected to pick legspinner Fawad Ahmed to make his Test debut alongside regular spin option Nathan Lyon on a wicket in Roseau which normally turns.
That’ll mean Marsh’s role as all-rounder will see him pick up the slack as a third seamer, and it’s a challenge he’s excited about.
“If the wickets do spin as predicted I think they’ll definitely play two spinners,” Marsh said.
“That’ll give us all-rounders a chance to chip in with the ball and obviously having the chance to play with Shane Watson and learn as much as I can in these conditions, I’m looking forward to that.”
If Marsh can find some some success with the ball against the Windies, it’ll set him well on the path to a possible chance to repeat his England demolition in the subsequent Ashes tour.
After his run in the Test team was halted by a hamstring injury, Marsh used his time after the World Cup to prepare his body for several months on the road in the hopes of cementing a Test berth.
“My body’s feeling really good at the moment so I’m in a great position to be able to launch hopefully in the Test arena,” he said.
“That’s a goal of mine, certainly, to nail down that No.6 spot.
“I love every opportunity of playing for my country and I enjoy it. This team’s so fun to play in.
“Every Test match that I get is something that I cherish and hopefully I can contribute to a winning Test match team.”
MITCHELL MARSH’S MODEST TEST BOWLING RECORD
Best bowling: 1-14 vs India, Brisbane 2014