Australia News – ‘Those memories will last forever’ – Shaun Marsh retires from first-class cricket

Shaun Marsh has retired from first-class cricket after 22 years of service for Western Australia at Sheffield Shield level and 38 Test matches for Australia.

Marsh made his first-class debut aged 17 for WA in 2001, achieving a career-long ambition of winning a Sheffield Shield title last season, where he captained the final in the absence of his brother Mitchell Marsh.

Aged 39, Marsh decided to play another season in 2022/23 but has been plagued with injury and has only played one Shield game this summer.

Marsh has just returned to Perth’s club cricket club following a broken finger and will retire with immediate effect, meaning he will not be part of WA’s bid to defend their title. They will play Victoria in the WACA next week before hosting the finals that begin on March 23.

“This year in particular has been very difficult,” Marsh told reporters. “It wasn’t the way I planned it after winning the Shield final last year.

“I had high hopes for myself to win another Shield, but due to injuries it didn’t work out the way I wanted.”

Marsh finishes as WA’s third highest series scorer in the Shield, with 8347 runs, including 20 centuries. His 122 games are the second most in WA history behind former captain Tom Moody.

But during a training session on Tuesday, he realized his tireless top career was over.

“I hit for about 20 minutes and the speed came over… I said to V [WA coach Adam Voges] that I’m done and want to do my weights [session]Marsh said. “I probably did half my weights [session]. I walked out and thought, ‘that’s not me’. For the past 24 hours it has dawned on me that my time is up.

“It’s been an amazing journey, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be here for 22 years and that’s something I’m very proud of.”

Marsh paid special tribute to his father Geoff Marsh, a former test opener and coach for Australia.

“That’s where I found the love for the game when I watched my dad play as a little kid,” he said. “From a young age I just wanted to be like him and he has had a huge impact on my career.”

Long touted as a Test star, having hit his first first-class ton as a 19-year-old against a strong New South Wales side of Steve and Mark Waugh, Marsh made a spectacular debut with a century against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2011.

He loomed as the natural successor to Ricky Ponting at No. 3, but suffered a disastrous drop in form against India in 2011–12 at home, scoring just 17 runs in six innings.

Inconsistency and injury became a curse for the southpaw Marsh, whose classy swing marked by elegant cover drives kept him enticing the national selectors.

But he was an enigma at the fold and, like younger sibling Mitchell, was met with ire from fans frustrated by the surge of his performances.

Marsh’s highest Test score of 182 was achieved against the West Indies at Hobart in 2015, where he combined with Voges in a 449-run fourth wicket stand. It remains the second highest partnership in Australia’s Test history.

His Test highlight may well have been during the 2017-18 Ashes series, where he struck for centuries in Adelaide and Sydney. At the SCG, Marsh memorably shared a 169-run partnership with Mitchell, who also scored a ton. It was the last of his six centuries, but he played a further 10 Tests over the next two years.

“Every time you get to represent your country…those memories will last forever,” he said.

Marsh finished 2265 Test runs at an average of 34.31 and played his last Test in January 2019 against India after providing an experienced presence following the sandpaper scandal. He has had more success in ODI cricket averaging 40.77 from 73 matches and seven centuries.

Marsh, who turns 40 in July, will continue in the BBL. He has one season left on his Melbourne Renegades contract.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist from Perth


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