All-rounders important for balance of team ahead of ODI World Cup: Marsh

Mumbai, Mar 16 (PTI) Mitchell Marsh feels having more all-rounders will provide Australia “flexibility and depth”, which will be crucial as they look to experiment with their line-up in the ODI series, keeping in mind the 50-over World Cup in India.

India will host the ICC ODI World Cup in October-November this year and the three-match ODI series, beginning here on Friday between the top-ranked hosts and the second-placed Australian side, will provide both the teams a chance to bolster their preparations.

“For the balance of our team, having as many all-rounders in here as we can is really important for the structure we line up with,” Marsh told reporters ahead of Australia’s training session here on Thursday.

“We’ve seen really good teams in the past, England have guys batting at No 8 who are genuine batters, and it gives you the ability to either set really big totals or chase big totals.” Marsh said explosive opening batter David Warner, who returned home after the second Test in New Delhi following a hairline fracture in his left elbow, will play in the first ODI only if he is 100 per cent fit.

Warner and the left-arm spin bowling all-rounder have rejoined Australia’s squad in India ahead of the ODI series.

“He is still coming back from his elbow injury, there is no rushing him back unless he is 100 per cent fit,” Marsh said.

Warner also reportedly suffered minor bruising during the team’s practice session for the opening ODI with the ball crashing into his thigh off an inside edge.

Marsh expects the series as well as the upcoming World Cup in India to be a high-scoring affair.

“Think we’ll see that (big totals) in this series, hopefully there’ll be a lot of runs scored, and looking forward to the World Cup, just the way cricket is played here in the white-ball format, you’ll have to chase or make big scores.

“The more flexibility and depth you can have with your batting line-up, I think it will be really important.

“It is going to be a high scoring World Cup … from my experience it is nice to have options to go to, to change things up, try and change the momentum of the games, the more options the better.” Marsh said while Australia will look to experiment, the focus will be on winning the series and not think too far ahead at the World Cup.

“I think it is really important for us to focus on winning this series. Anytime we play for Australia it is important to have that mindset, as every team would be doing now over the next six months or so, building towards the World Cup.

“We might just play a few different lineups, experimenting with a few guys but the mindset is to come here and win the series. Obviously we have got a fair bit of experience playing here which is great so hopefully it will be a few good games for us.” The 31-year-old said beating India in their own backyard is going to be really challenging.

“It is always a difficult place to win. The Indian one-day team is outstanding and they play very well at home. But I think we have also got a very good side and it is going to be a great contest.

“Hopefully we can play some good cricket, entertain some big crowds and win a few games for Australia.” Marsh, who is coming off a long injury lay-off after undergoing an ankle surgery in December 2022, said he will play as a batter in this series as he is still about a month away from bowling again.

“Probably still a month, three weeks away from bowling in games. (I am) building towards the IPL. It’s certainly not something I’m rushing back, we’ve got a lot of options in our team at the moment and a lot of cricket to play this year.

“The reason I had the surgery was to prolong my career as an allrounder and won’t be rushing back,” he said.

Marsh also said he has no captaincy aspirations, adding stand-in skipper Steve Smith is not retiring anytime soon.

Smith, who will captain Australia in the absence of Pat Cummins, has spoken about his retirement with the media quite a few times in the last one year or so.

“Have I got captaincy aspirations? No. I think Steve has hinted a few times that he might retire soon, he is just keeping everyone on their toes. He is here to stay, I am declaring it,” Marsh signed off.

Source: PTI News


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