Shaun Marsh and his duck tax

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< 1 minute read

It’s common for people to ask: if Shaun Marsh is the answer, what is the question? As often as not, the question is “who’s the selectorial equivalent of a last desperate roll of the dice?”

Australia have not been making runs in Sri Lanka. In the first two Tests their scores were 203, 161, 106 and 183. Against that backdrop, a duck from a top order batsman doesn’t feel too costly – and if there’s a one in ten chance that the duck-scorer might instead make a hundred, you might as well take a punt. Enter Shaun Marsh.

Selecting Marsh is all about what might happen; very rarely about what probably will happen. In Tests, he makes good hundreds interspersed with a hell of a lot of ducks. His first-class record meanwhile is not much better than reasonable, so there aren’t really grounds for optimism there either. You select Shaun Marsh in hope. It’s quite heart-warming in a way.

The problem for Australia is that Marsh inclusion also comes with a cost. For every “he’s finally cracked it!” there’s a long stretch of “oh no, he hasn’t” to bring the world back into order.

The selectors appear to be onto him however. In December, he made 182 against the West Indies. He was then dropped. This has seemingly allowed him to pay his duck tax in the nets because upon his return to the side, he’s made another hundred.

Or maybe this is all part of the Marsh masterplan. Two hundreds in two Test innings might earn him a long stretch in the side to disprove himself. It’s inadvisable to commit to dice-rolling in the long-term.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Sri Lanka 26-5 to 355 all out.

    Aus 276-1 to 379 all out.

    Sri Lanka 98-4 to 347 all out.

    Aus 100-1 to 160 all out.

    Must resist urge to laugh.

    Urge to laugh growing.

    1. Wow, so many twists and turns in that test – the turn provided mainly by Herath against Aussie batsmen unable to play spin, all the while against the ‘worst side in the world’ as well, ho hum.
      I wonder if Aussie/Lankan media/commentators/armchair pundits/fans alike committed as many reverse ferrets during that match as their English counterparts would no doubt have done?

    1. Inexplicable decision not even to try, in my view.

      Happy with it personally, unless it means the Yorkies have some extraordinarily cunning plan to overtake Middlesex, the natural heirs apparent, at the top of the tree.

      1. The Home of Cricket or The Home of Corks? I need to know what you meant. Perhaps amend that post-nominal addendum to Lords THoCoCIBoIP (Cricket, or Corks, Interchangeable Based on Individual Preference)

        So, young Hameed for England? Can he do any worse than other so-called specialist batsmen?

  2. 7/64 and 28 wickets in the series… The homicidal Capybara has struck again. Will no one think of the children!

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