Mitchell Marsh played The Oval and looked more agile than ever before © Getty
Mitchell Marsh is a big boy. It's almost what you hear every time his name appears. And for good reason. Because the youngest member of the Marsh cricket clan is indeed a big boy, a little unit, a big boy. In Derby, when they fought together, he made Usman Khawaja look half his size compared to him. For a long time in Marsh's career, from youth cricket until now, large also meant fat.
Growing up, the story says that he spent the first few days back in the youth academy settings, constantly running only on laps, invariably returning from the break with extra kilos on himself. As revealed on Thursday (September 12) in The Oval, it is an issue that has not left him yet.
"My body just likes to gain weight easily, and my mother likes to feed me. Over the past six months I haven't had that many roasts at home, "he would reveal on the day cricket came back to the Test and finished with the breakthrough numbers 4/35 in 16.1 overs.
Cricket is not a sport that too often indulges in body embarrassment. After all, it is a sport for all shapes, even if Virat Kohli could construct a fitness revolution in which the fashion is zero size with wavy muscles. And Junior Marsh was by no means overweight in a very obvious way. There is simply too much of his body to compensate for the excess load he can carry. If anything, then more athletically than aesthetically, Marsh's weight gain influenced his career. And as a result, both selectors and Marsh himself identify him as a recurring problem. And it's not surprising that Tim Paine moved him on the eve of his last test here shortly after the announcement of a comprehensive return to the test team.
"Of course, if you're a boy of the size, it's hard to run all day when you have a few extra kilos with you," said the captain. It was also a message that Marsh was transmitted by powers that were during the Australian summer home, which he began as a test vice captain, who hit in the highest order and ended not only outside the team, but seemingly off the stage. To the extent that his choice for the team Ashes looked more like he was the default all-rounder in the Australian set, rather than being chosen to play any particular role before he was an unexpected choice for The Oval.
After a brief indulgence to point out Marsh's weight problems from the past, Paine also told how a Western Australian used his backward position to achieve the condition he was expected of to play a double role at the highest level. And when he ran at full capacity for eight times in the last session of the first day and knocked out the English central government, you could see what Paine was talking about.
It was not the type of holding spell that you would expect from a fourth seamer, specially chosen to ensure rest for specialists from the side. Marsh not only ran tail after ball after ball, but also generated movement in the air and sometimes off the pitch better than any other bowling mate. He did a similar job during a tour match in Derby, especially when it comes to moving Dukes's ball. This, however, was contrary to the county's custom composition of counties. Here, against the English team winking with a rare victory in the series on the line, he played in pairs and made attacks, while allowing the ball to turn in conditions where others found minimal help. He will later reveal that trainer Justin Langer asked him to be aggressive and literally took the coat from the tiring Cummins and Hazlewood. And that's what he did here.
Paine also said on the eve of the match that team management had talked to Mars about how they wanted him to reach the level of fitness needed to recreate the influence Ben Stokes had on this series with a stick and ball. And he couldn't better fulfill the captain's wishes, starting with getting rid of Stokes thoroughly with the second spell. His 3/17 in the 8-over series after the tea break is a place where both Marsh's fitness and his will to play Baggy Green appeared. It wasn't just that he was bowling and taking his wickets with him, as might be expected from a second Mitchell in a bowling attack. It was the intensity of his celebration, the intensity of his annoyance to himself, the rare occasion when he slid the ball down his legs and the intensity with which he ran in all series, whether in networks or in traveling matches. Mitchell Marsh was right here and looked more capable than ever before.
Australia is not doing very well. When Shane Watson was around, they preferred him to be a regular operator who provides a strange breakthrough, but more importantly, he maintains control over larger, nastier fast bowlers and blasting teams. However, this is a different Australia, and because the best fast bowlers have more satisfaction from hitting the right length and valuing batters, Marsh could have come by and be an aggressor, which clearly paid off. All this work that he did with his ass – and yes, with most conversations with overweight, a lot was said about his ass during the press conference after the match – was in the foreground.
"I don't necessarily eat so badly, I'm just a great eater. I probably reduced my portions a bit. There is no secret that JL challenged me from a fitness perspective, "he says of his voracious appetite during the day. He will also talk about his voracious appetite when he wants to play test cricket in Australia.
However, few Australian cricket shares opinions, like the Marsh brothers. And there were many who were not too surprised that the all-rounder was chosen in The Oval. But like his physical fitness, Marsh is very aware of what Australia thinks about him, for the most part, and was quite charming in the way he handled the fact that he was asked about it.
"Most Australia hates me. (Laughter) Australians are passionate, they love cricket, they want people to do well. There is no doubt that I had many opportunities at the test level and I didn't quite catch it, but I hope they respect me for coming back, I love playing in Australia, I love to wear a baggy green cap. I try, I hope I can win them in one day, "he said.
Certainly he did it very well on the day he strained his weight, as is rare with a cricket ball.