JUSTIN Langer isn’t at all surprised Australian cricket’s reformed party boy Mitchell Marsh has been given a second chance with his inclusion in Australia’s Champions Trophy squad.
Langer believes the tall all-rounder from Western Australia has the potential to become a key figure for his country with bat and ball.
The 21-year-old made his one-day debut against South Africa towards the end of 2011 and, despite not featuring in another ODI since, will travel to England for the Champions Trophy tournament, which takes place in June.
Western Australia coach Langer believes Marsh deserves the call-up.
“It’s a very good reward for his season in one-day cricket,” Langer told The Daily Telegraph. “He’s got huge talent and potential.”
Marsh has scored 878 runs in his 27 one-day games with an average of 39.90 and he’s also taken 21 wickets. He’s been a consistent performer on the field, but has attracted more attention for his off-field antics in the past year.
He was sent home from the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane as a disciplinary measure after he was found “unfit to train” and a few months later was dropped by the Perth Scorchers following a big night out during the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.
But Langer hopes Marsh has learned the right lessons from those incidents.
“He’s a young man, he’s only 21, and at that age you tend to make mistakes,” Langer said. “But he’ll be stronger for it and I hope he keeps on learning.”
Marsh’s talent was spotted early when he captained Australia’s U19s to victory in the 2010 World Cup in New Zealand. And while Langer admits he still has plenty of room for growth and development in his career, he wants to see Marsh fight for the all-rounder spot in the Australian team.
“He’s an all-rounder, which is a very attractive commodity in Australia cricket,” Langer said.
“There aren’t many players who can bat, bowl and field. He’s tall, he can bowl and has the ability to bat almost anywhere in the order.”
National selector John Inverarity is looking to Marsh to unlock his potential during the Champions Trophy, while vice-captain George Bailey expects Marsh to have a “big impact”.
“I think everyone in Australia who has played against him or seen him or played with him knows the potential that Mitch Marsh holds,” Bailey said.