Marsh available to bowl, Maxwell backs him to find batting form

Australia
Mitchell Marsh has declared himself ready to bowl in the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup 2024 to hand Australia another option ahead of their game against Bangladesh in Antigua, while Glenn Maxwell believes the captain is close to making a big impact with the bat.

Marsh has not bowled since leaving the IPL with a hamstring injury and a cautious approach has been taken to his return with the initial rehab requiring a little longer than expected.

“I’ll be available to bowl,” he said. “With the line-up that we’ve got, I don’t really necessarily see a need for me to bowl, but I think it’s really important in this format to have options and we’re blessed with plenty of those.”

Australia have not been found short due to Marsh being held back from bowling duties with Marcus Stoinis playing an important role, while against Scotland they used 12 overs of spin with an eye on potential conditions in the Super Eight.
Marsh having a role with the ball would become a more likely scenario if Australia fielded Ashton Agar as a second frontline spinner again then decided they needed some extra overs of seam.

“Physically feel good,” Marsh said. “It’s always nice to have a bit of break from bowling and I often joke about that. But Stoin and I often talk about it as allrounders, we love being in the game.”

Marsh wouldn’t divulge whether Australia will return to three specialist quicks against Bangladesh or retain the balance of attack they used against Scotland. The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium has not offered huge assistance for the spinners so far – the numbers at the venue are skewed somewhat by four-wicket hauls for Adam Zampa and Adil Rashid against Oman and Namibia – but Australia are on alert for sharply-spinning conditions in St Vincent where they face Afghanistan.

Should Australia bring both Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood back into their XI after they were rested against Scotland then Maxwell can take on the role of the second spinner.

Marsh and Maxwell are the two parts of Australia’s batting order that have yet to fire at the World Cup with 63 runs between them in seven innings, but Maxwell was confident he and the captain were close to making a big impact.

“For me and Mitch, we got a lot of confidence out of that England game for the role we played,” Maxwell told ESPN’s Around The Wicket. “Even though it’s a small sample size we still feel like we played out role; we set the innings up for the lower order to then go nuts. The opening batters going out and scoring at 12, 13 an over can be bit misleading to how conditions are and if we try to go at that rate for the rest of the innings thinking that’s what it’s like we could throw our wickets away.

“Mitch has been unbelievable over the last couple of years, since he’s come back into all three formats, especially the Test stuff, [and] I think that’s probably filtered into the confidence in the other two formats. Watching him go about his work, you always know he’s only one or two shots away from basically ruining a game and we are looking forward to seeing that.”

On his own form, which stems back to a poor IPL, Maxwell said: “Still feeling really good. I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well, but…it’s just been really hard to, I suppose, get that rhythm and momentum. You’ve seen our openers go out there and pump it all over the place then in the middle order it’s been quite difficult to adjust.

“The only one throughout the tournament who has consistently smashing them is Stoin – he’s been outstanding. To have those guys below me gives me a lot of confidence and actually knowing I have a bit of time to get myself into the tournament and we’ve got some real quality below us. It’s a nice position to be in that I don’t feel like I’ve fully hit my straps, played pretty well against England…but I know it’s not far away.”

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