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Mitchell Marsh may be out for nine months

Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh requires reconstructive surgery on his shoulder injury which will sideline him for up to nine months and end his hopes of participating in this year’s Ashes series, local media reported on Monday.

Mitchell Marsh may be out for nine months
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Mitchell Marsh

Melbourne

Marsh, a pace-bowling all-rounder, struggled with the shoulder injury throughout Australia’s home summer and was ruled out of Australia’s remaining two Tests in India last week. 

Surgery, which the Western Australian newspaper said was “vital” if he was ever to bowl at full pace again, would effectively put the 25-year-old out of contention for the home Ashes series, which starts in Brisbane in late November.

Marsh was hailed as the solution to Australia’s lack of a quality all-rounder when he made his Test debut in late 2014 but has been widely criticised for his contributions in the longer format with returns of 674 runs and 29 wickets in 21 matches. During the first two Tests against India at Pune and Bengaluru, the Western Australian scored 48 runs in four innings and bowled just five overs. 

Australia’s merry-go-round in the No.6 position is set to continue in the third Test in Ranchi, with Mitchell Marsh sent home with a shoulder injury and replaced in the squad by Victoria allrounder Marcus Stoinis. In less than two-and-a-half years since Marsh debuted in the Test side, Australia have used a staggering 10 players at No.6 (excluding nightwatchman Nathan Lyon), with Marsh’s 20 Tests in the position comfortably the most. 

In that time, the Western Australian has been unable to make the spot his own, averaging 19.70 with one fifty from 25 innings. Now the reins look set to be thrown to another option, with Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar and Marcus Stoinis all hopeful of a call-up in Ranchi.

WHO WILL REPLACE MARSH IN THE AUSSIE LINE-UP?

Usman Khawaja (Queensland) 

Tests: 23 – 1726 runs at 47.94, with 5 hundreds 

Comfortably the most accomplished Test player in this quartet of contenders, Khawaja looms as the obvious option if coach Darren Lehmann and selector on duty Mark Waugh want to bolster their batting, which could well be the case after they were rolled in Bengaluru for 112 on day four.

Glenn Maxwell (Victoria)

Tests: 3 – 80 runs at 13.33, seven wickets at 38.71 

Maxwell’s three opportunities in Test cricket have all come in Asia, and worse still for the enigmatic allrounder, when Australia has been either one-nil or two-nil down in the series. Additionally, he’s been asked to bat in five different positions in the order – from opener to No.8 – in six Test innings.

Ashton Agar (W Australia) 

Tests: 2 – 130 runs at 32.50, two wickets at 124 

Agar might come into calculations if the wickets looks like a raging turner – a distinct possibility anywhere in India. If selected, Agar could slot in at No.7 behind Matthew Wade, though the left-hander incredible 98 on debut from No.11 shows just how equipped he is with the bat.

Marcus Stoinis (Victoria)

First-class matches: 43 – 2386 runs at 35.08, 33 wickets at 48.27 

The one player among this foursome who is yet to wear Baggy Green, it’s ironic that Stoinis appears as likely as anyone to replace Marsh. Lehmann has made no secret of his fondness for a seam-bowling allrounder regardless of the conditions.

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