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Wednesday, 30 November 2011






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Son’s progress more important?

Geoff in marshland

First outing as coach a disaster:

Sri Lanka coach Geoff Marsh had allegedly concentrated more on his native Australian team’s matches against South Africa rather than the team he is officially coaching in Sri Lanka, an away series against Pakistan.

Sri Lanka coach Geoff Marsh

It has now been disclosed that coach Marsh has been concentrating more on the live match coverage of the series between Australia and South Africa on a notebook computer when his team was struggling against Pakistan during its recent Test and One Day International (ODI) series in the UAE.

Besides being a former Australian cricket legend, Geoff Marsh has a particular interest in concentrating on Australian cricket as both his sons are among the contracted players in the Australian national squad.

His eldest son Shaun Marsh (28 years) has already represented Australia in three Tests (aggregating 284 runs to average 56.80) with a century and a fifty. In 36 ODIs, he has aggregated 1,274 runs (averaging 36.40) with two centuries and eight fifties. Incidentally, Shaun made his Test debut against Sri Lanka with a bang, making a century on debut - a marvelous 141 (with 18 fours off 315 balls in 420 minutes) at Pallekele International Stadium last September.

It was said that officials of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) sealed his two-year contract as Sri Lanka coach when Marsh Snr. was at Pallekele International Stadium in Kandy to witness his eldest son in action.

It is alleged that Marsh Snr, using a borrowed laptop computer, had been following the live feed of Australia’s batting debacle against South Africa in the recent first Test on November 11, 2011 while Sri Lanka team, batting first, was shot out for 131 runs in the first ODI against Pakistan in Dubai on the same day. Team sources said Marsh Snr was not concerned to boost the morale of the team when Sri Lankan batsmen were returning to the dressing room, in quick succession, as wickets tumbled at regular intervals.

Instead, he has been fully focused on the first Test in Cape Town where Australia was shot out for 47 runs in the second innings to lose by eight wickets to South Africa. Shaun Marsh, who made 44 in the first innings, made a two-ball ‘duck’ in the second essay on November 11, much to the disappointment of his father.

Shaun’s younger brother, Mitchell Marsh (20 years) has played only a solitary ODI for Australia, making his debut with 8 not out against South Africa in Centurion last October. He had captained Australia Under-19 team.

Geoff Marsh’s conflict of interest could well push Sri Lanka cricket into a dark era. Of that being a possibility was evident in the very first series he coached against a moderate team like Pakistan which has been starved of international cricket.

Nevertheless, Pakistan, playing at a neutral venue, humbled Sri Lanka by winning both the Test (1-0) and ODI (4-1) series. Pakistan, which exposed all weak links of the Lankan team, also won the one-off Twenty20 international.

Besides Marsh’s lack of concentration and commitment on the team at all times as a professional coach, several internal disputes in the squad too have apparently contributed to Sri Lanka’s pathetic performance in the desert. The SLC officials must begin an immediate investigation, based on the manager’s report, to find out exact root causes for Sri Lanka team’s poor performance.

Marsh retired from playing cricket in 1994 and two years later he was chosen as coach of the Australian team. He was the coach of the Australian team that won the 1999 World Cup in England, guiding the team to seven consecutive victories to help them win the tournament. He left the Australian coaching job to serve as a national selector until 2001. From 2001 to 2004 he served as coach of the Zimbabwe national team.

Since September 27, Marsh Snr. is on a two-year contract with the SLC, following the interim periods of former Australian batsman Stuart Law and former Sri Lanka fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake after the contract of Trevor Bayliss expired with the 2011 ICC World Cup.

Born on December 31, 1958, Marsh has played 50 Tests and 117 ODIs, made his international debut in December, 1985 when Australia was in team-building process with young talent after the retirements of three all-time greats – Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh.


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