Shaun stakes claim with fluent century

"This Test series is going to be a really good challenge for us as well, coming up against a quality opposition. It’s going to be a great series for everyone... I know it’s going to be a good challenge, and I just want to enjoy it."

Shaun Marsh

‘Stop-and-start career’ is usually a term reserved for the bowlers in cricket. But Shaun Marsh has proven to be a rare batsman to be included in such a list. For almost a decade now, the Australian selectors have persisted with or gone back to the senior of the siblings who carry the burden of being former Australia opener Geoff Marsh’s sons on his shoulders.

On being recalled into the Test side for the nth time and preferred over Usman Khawaja for the tour game, signalling at Australia’s composition of the batting unit going into the opening Test in Pune next week, Marsh staked a claim for a spot with a fluent 104 before retiring.

But as graceful he is with his strokeplay, even off spin, the 33-year-old is guarded when it comes to expressing himself in public. He didn’t open up while asked about his up-and-down career. Neither did he spell out on how he deals with expectations from him.

The only time he warmed up was when asked about the importance of this series for himself and the team. “It’s a place where I’ve always enjoyed coming and playing. I always find it a really good challenge,” said Marsh, who hasn’t played a Test in India, but has had multiple fruitful stints in the Indian Premier League.

“This Test series is going to be a really good challenge for us as well, coming up against a quality opposition. It’s going to be a great series for everyone… I know it’s going to be a good challenge, and I just want to enjoy it.”

With two of India’s specialist bowlers--including off-spinner K. Gowtham--breaking down, Marsh, along with other Australian batsmen, had to face part-time bowlers. But he stressed that the time spent at the crease would give batsmen more confidence than the runs they scored. “Any time you get to spend a bit of time out in the middle, it always helps. We know what we’re expecting against Ashwin and Jadeja. It’s about getting as much out from this game as possible as batters and being confident to go next week,” he said.

Special moments for Navdeep

Whenever Navdeep Singh is fit, which isn’t as consistent a phenomenon as the Delhi bowler would have liked to, he is impressive with the red cherry in his hand. It was displayed in his inspiring spell in the morning that saw the back of both the Australian openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw.

“It was special. I had seen Ashok bhai (Dinda) bowling a short one to Warner earlier and then thought maybe I can get one short in the right area against him. Really happy that the ploy worked,” said the shy bowler.