Geoff Marsh on Sri Lanka’s capabilities and on his two sons

Wayne Smith, in The Australian, 2 February 2012, where there wasa different title:  “Sri Lanka ready for pace: Geoff Marsh”

THE Sri Lankan side should have no difficulties adjusting to Australia’s livelier wickets, having just come off a Test and one-day series in South Africa, sacked Sri Lanka coach Geoff Marsh warned yesterday.  Many of India’s problems in the just-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy series seemed to stem from the fact its batsmen could not adapt to continually having to play the ball at chest height on Australian pitches, having played against the West Indies at home on lower, slower wickets. But Sri Lanka, the third side in the triangular one-day series in Australia over the next five weeks, should have no such problems, according to the former Australian opening batsman.

“I think one thing these guys have done over the last couple of months is play a lot of cricket in South Africa,” Marsh told SEN SportsCentral radio yesterday. “It’s not like coming from Sri Lanka into Australia, where you come from slow, turning wickets on to Australia’s pacier wickets. I think they’re more acclimatised to it. I think they’ll be more ready for the tour.

“They’re a very good side. They were World Cup runners-up six months ago. They’ve toured South Africa. You only have to talk to the Australian players about how tough it is to win over there and these boys managed to win a Test match and won the last two one-dayers chasing 300 on both occasions. So there is a lot of talent in the Sri Lankan side and I think it will be an exciting series.”

While reluctant to discuss his stunning sacking as Sri Lankan coach barely four months into the job, Marsh admitted he had not been given an explanation for his removal. “I felt I was really coaching well at the time,” he said.

“You know that feeling you have, and I think the important thing for any coach is to get the respect of the players and I firmly believe I had that in the first couple of months there and I was looking forward to moving on. But unfortunately that’s not the case. I haven’t had a reason yet. We’ll see how that all pans out.”

His shock dismissal coincided with his son Shaun’s omission from Australia’s one-day squad following his dreadful run of outs in his past seven Test innings, in which he scored four ducks and only 17 runs.

Ironically, while younger brother Mitch’s star is on the rise, Shaun will go back to Sheffield Shield to rediscover his form.

“It’s a tough road out there and if you’re picked for Australia you’re expected to perform and, unfortunately for Shaun, he had that back injury and didn’t have a bat in his hand for six weeks,” said his father.

“He busted his gut to get back for the Boxing Day Test and, just knowing Shaun, I know that if he had got away to a good start he would have been right but he struggled with his confidence. But at the end of the day they’ve given him the opportunity to go back and play Shield cricket which is the best thing for him (to) just find his form. I personally think that the Shield competition is the best competition in the world and if he goes back there he gets time at the crease, and I think Michael Clarke and the selectors are keen for him to play Test cricket again and get back into that side and stay in that side by weight of runs.”

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