Mitchell Marsh chooses County stint with Surrey over 2018 IPL
What's the story?
Australian cricketer Mitchell Marsh has opted to sacrifice a possible lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) contract by signing with Surrey in order to feature across all three formats during the 2018 County season. The all-rounder, who turns 26 today, has effectively ruled himself out of the reckoning for next year's IPL edition and will instead be available for Surrey right from the start of the season.
Marsh asserted, "I am extremely excited to join Surrey for the 2018 season. The opportunity to challenge myself in English conditions is something I can't wait for. I have followed the team closely this year and hopefully, I'll be able to contribute to some silverware, along with helping a young squad grow and improve. The opportunity to work with Michael di Venuto (Coach) and Alec Stewart (Team Director) is also very exciting. Bring on 2018!"
Meanwhile, an elated Stewart stated, "I am very pleased to announce the signing of Mitch Marsh, a highly talented, exciting and motivated international all-rounder. His all-round abilities and experience will add great balance and depth to our squad in all formats of the game and I look forward to welcoming him to the Kia Oval for the start of next season."
In case you didn't know...
After signing with Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), Marsh was forced to skip the 2017 IPL edition due to a shoulder injury that he had picked up during the second Test against India in Bengaluru.
The heart of the matter
As Surrey's overseas player for the 2018 County season, Marsh will have big shoes to fill. Kumar Sangakkara had amassed a jaw-dropping 1491 runs at an average of 106.50 with 8 centuries in the 2017 division one championship to go alongside his remarkable tally of 545 runs at an average of 77.85 with 2 centuries in the Royal London One-Day Cup. Despite the Sri Lankan legend's record-breaking feats with the bat, Surrey could only finish third in the championship table and were also beaten by Nottinghamshire in the 50-over final.
With Sangakkara's retirement from first-class cricket opening up an overseas slot, Surrey wasted no time in securing the services of Marsh for the 2018 season. The Australian player is currently captaining Western Australia in the JLT One-Day Cup. While he has scored 258 runs at an average of 129 with a century and fifty each to propel his team to the final, the right-armer has not resumed bowling yet.
Parallels from history
This will not be the first instance of Marsh opting to forego IPL riches for developing his overall game. Ahead of the 2015 Ashes, he expressed his readiness for a County stint. However, visa restrictions prevented him from securing a deal in England.
In an era where most cricketers are looking at the game as just a means to earn money, Marsh's decision to buck the trend comes across as a breath of fresh air. Even though he stands to lose a significant amount of money (assuming an IPL franchise could have picked him), the all-rounder will look to improve all facets of his game by featuring in County cricket across multiple formats.