Boxing Day unlikely for Marsh

Australia opening batsman Shaun Marsh is unlikely to be fit enough to feature in the Boxing day Test against Pakistan at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Marsh’s failure to recover may hand a lifeline to New South Welshman Nic Maddinson who has yet to make double figures in three Test innings.

While Matthew Renshaw has impressed in his short career as a Test opener it is believed he would drop down the order to accommodate the returning Marsh were he fit.

Australia could also call on Travis Head who starred in the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series against New Zealand, with a string of handy knocks, to try to solve their number six issues, while Callum Ferguson is another who may be afforded a second crack at it.

Cricket Australia’s team performance chief Pat Howard says that Marsh is a big doubt for a return in the second Test against Pakistan.

Howard told ABC radio: “On a personal note, you’d like to see anyone do well. It’s been really pleasing to see three debutants, two have actually put down fantastic markers.

“Obviously with Nic, we all talked about Adelaide being tough. But the other thing is, there’s never the perfect opportunity.

“I’m sure Callum Ferguson would love an opportunity. And so there’s never the perfect way or perfect opportunity, and you’ve got to take what’s on offer. Nic or anybody else, when that opportunity is presented, you’ve got to come and take it with both hands. And I think that does apply no matter what the age.”

Howard conceded that older players need to do more in first class cricket to earn Baggy Green calls.

Howard said: “They’ve got to top the run-scoring, they’ve got to absolutely dominate in Shield.

“And I think that sends a fantastic message to all the Shield players. They’ve got to play really well.

“There is the opportunity absolutely, to do that. For the younger players, you’ve got to be able to talent ID. You’ve got to be able to go ‘I’ve seen enough in this player to be able to go to the next step’.

“I don’t think that’s anything different from the past, but yeah, you expect higher standards [of older players].”