Older, wiser Marsh shipshape for first Test
CRICKET: Shaun Marsh has made more comebacks than John Farnham when it comes to the Australian Test team.
The left-handed batsman has been in and out of the side since making his debut in 2011 - seven times, in fact, has he been recalled after losing his place through form or injury.
Right now though, Marsh remains the incumbent parter to David Warner at the top of the order when the three-Test series against South Africa begins on his home ground at the WACA tomorrow.
After making 130 in latest return to Test cricket in the third match in Sri Lanka, his form during the domestic season has been superb, with 15 and 70 in his two Matador Cup innings followed by 73 and 110 in the first Sheffield Shield clash against South Australia.
With form on his side, Marsh has also been able to give his fitness a tick, overcoming the broken finger that kept him out of Australia's recent one-day international series in South Africa and a hamstring strain suffered back on home soil.
"I worked really hard,” Marsh said of trying to improve his fitness levels. "I was just making sure I don't leave any stone unturned in my rehab.
"When I first did it (the hamstring injury) I didn't know what sort of grade it was. That first night was a pretty sleepless night, I was pretty down in the dumps.
"But I had a scan the next day and the results gave me a bit of hope.
"It came good in the space of a couple of days. That gave me the confidence leading up to the Shield game that I could get through.”
Now 33, some might have thought that Marsh's days in the Test arena were over when Queenslander Joe Burns was preferred last summer.
Marsh, who has played 18 Tests at an average of 40.2, said the belief that every game could be his last in the baggy green had made him a better player.
"When you get older you sort of know you have to try and make every post a winner,” Marsh said.
"I think going out with that mindset, going into every game as if it were your last, that's been really good for me.
"Over the last 12-18 months I've always just played the game as if it was my last ... it keeps you on your toes and keeps you working harder and all that sort of stuff.
"The big thing for me is my preparation, just making sure I get that right.”
Marsh said becoming a father to his first child, Austin, in June had also given him a different outlook.
"It has certainly put new perspective on life and all the little things I used to worry about I tend not to worry about any more,” he said.
"It has been fantastic to be a father. To come home and see that smiling little man whether you have done well or not done well. It just clears the mind straight away.”
Marsh has played one Test at the WACA in 2012, but his brother Mitchell was not in the team then.
He said it would be a proud moment to be on his home ground with his younger sibling and Western Australian teammate Adam Voges.
"It's going to be pretty special,” he said. "It is about getting out there and trying to do the basics well and I am looking forward to getting out there in front of my home fans and my family.
"I think there is quite a few coming.”