Cricket: Mitch Marsh reflects on key relationship with Pat Cummins

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Mitch Marsh shook his head and tutted when, in the aftermath of his stunning Allan Border Medal win, he realised he said on stage in front of the nation that he “gets a bit fat sometimes” as he thanked captain Pat Cummins for his unwavering belief.

“That’ll be the headline,” he said, half-joking, a little bit concerned.

It was one line among a brilliant acceptance speech, part humour, part humility, with plenty of appreciation for those around him after his resurgence from whipping boy to national hero was complete.

While he cringed a little at what he said, Marsh also revealed that being able to be that way, in public, in the change rooms and then on stage, with the full support of his captain, teammates and national selectors, had been as important as his blistering work with the bat in becoming one of the most dominant batters on the planet.

The 32-year-old’s career had been a case of trial and error as he continued to be on the selection turnstile, particularly when it cames to Test cricket, trying at times to be a person he wasn’t to become the cricketer everyone wanted him to be.

But under Cummins, and coach Andrew McDonald, who he said “changed my life”, and via advice from his wife of eight months, Greta, Marsh is doing it his way, and the results are coming thick and fast.

“I think I probably found that right balance over the last couple of years,” he said away from the cameras, still beaming.

“I’ve stayed on the park for a long time and played a lot of cricket over the last 12 months and I guess that comes with a bit of maturity.

“And really being in a really good environment. That allows me to just enjoy myself and have fun and we speak about fun and enjoyment.

“There’s no doubt there’s hard parts to what we do. There’s high pressure. There’s always pressure when we play.

“But the environment that’s created has allowed me to I guess really be my truest self and coming out and the way that I’ve played and certainly the way I’ve batted in Test cricket, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Marsh conceded when he was out of the Test team for four years, from 2019 until his return during the 2023 Ashes, he lost belief, but it was rekindled by McDonald and the team environment he has created.

“I think just Ronnie, in particular, I guess the language he uses around his belief in me and what I can do,” he said.

“Probably two years ago, I didn’t believe that myself and he’s kind of forced me to, so there’s no doubt that he’s had a significant impact on my career in the last two years and really my whole life.”

Marsh’s relationship with Cummins has also been particularly telling.

The duo, from either side of the country, and very different upbringings, Marsh from a cricketing family and the son of a gun, while Cummins wasn’t.

They went on their first overseas tour together, formed a bond, and it remains strong, crucial, and incredibly important to Marsh.

“We’ve struck up an amazing relationship over a long period of time,” Marsh said.

“Patty didn’t grow up with cricket and I think at times, part of that helps him, he’s got a really great perspective on the game of life itself.

“And the way he leads us is exactly Pat. And I think that’s a real strength of any leader to be true to themselves, and I always felt like a bit of an older brother to Pat and we’ve started playing together and now he’s someone that I look up to as my captain and a leader and a great friend.

“So it’s a special relationship.”