Infotainment Factory: Tubby: rookie is shades of a legend

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Saturday, 24 November 2018

Tubby: rookie is shades of a legend


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Australia had picked a Justin Langer lookalike in Marcus Harris, says former opener and captain Mark Taylor, who called for the left-hander to be picked for the first Test.

Victoria’s Harris, 26, seems likely to play the series opener against India in Adelaide, though Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh are all options to open.

Harris averages just 35.55 in first-class cricket but has been far more prolific in recent times. Taylor said that he should get the nod to make his Test debut on December 6.

“I like Marcus Harris,” Taylor said on Sports Sunday.

“I saw him in some JLT matches for Victoria, and before that for Western Australia.

“He’s very much like a Justin Langer-type player. He’s generally square of the wicket, he’s got a similar type of build, he’s a short guy; but punches the ball.

“This year, he’s really kicked on. He made a 200 against NSW at the MCG, averages about 47 for Victoria over the last couple of years, so he’s been consistent, and made a couple of big scores to say to the selectors, ‘I’m your guy’.

“I really hope he plays. I think he will; I think he’ll probably open the batting with Aaron Finch. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes playing for Australia.”

Langer, now the Australian coach, averaged 45.27 with 7,696 runs across 105 Tests for Australia, most of them opening the batting. Having coached Harris at Western Australia, only to see him depart for Victoria, he once lamented that the young lefty was a “mediocre” player.

Yet he gave a strong defence of those comments after Harris was selected.

“Let me squash this straight away – Marcus Harris is like my little brother,” Langer said.

“I’ve known him at Scarborough Cricket Club since he was about 10 years old.

“Did I saw mediocre with flashes of brilliance? Yeah, I did, because that’s what he was. That’s the truth, look at it.

“I used to turn up every Sheffield Shield game to watch my little brother bat, I could not wait to watch him bat because I love the way he goes about his business. I used to work hard, I used to throw millions of balls to him … then he’d get 20 and I’d want to shake him every time. I’d want to shake him and say, ‘Mate, you’re getting 20s, that’s mediocre’.

“Is 20 mediocre? Is 20 mediocre? For anyone, for a batsman, is 20 mediocre? For a guy who’s a professional, is 20 mediocre?

“The he’d come out and play these amazing innings when he was in Shield finals, white-ball finals … and we were going, ‘Brilliant’.

“What he’s done, to his immense credit, is he’s become a really consistent opening batsman with flashes of brilliance. That’s what really good players do.

“That’s why he’s been selected to play for Australia, because he’s transformed himself [from] a young bloke who got a lot of 20s and some brilliant centuries into a lot more consistent performances. He’s had two very good seasons.

“I keep reading your guys’ headlines [suggesting a rift] … I love him. He’s like my little brother, he makes me laugh every time I see him. So when I read those things, it’s kind of like a dagger to my heart, because I know it’s actually not what happened.”

Harris also revealed that Langer had been quick to text him after his selection.

“He texted me before and said ‘Welcome to the brotherhood, you little bastard’,” Harris told reporters, adding that he wasn’t upset by Langer’s previous criticism.

“It didn’t really wind me up too much with what he said. We ended on good terms.

“I understood that if you put a lot of time into someone and they leave the state you’d be upset. That was fine by me. It’s all good, no worries there.”

Aside from Harris, Taylor said he was anxious to see Mitchell Marsh have a big summer.

“Shaun Marsh is a good player, averaged 74 last year in the Ashes series. Mitchell Marsh is the one that really needs to step up this year. Mitchell Marsh averages just over 20 for Western Australia at No.6; he’s got to be better than that,” Taylor said.

“Australia need all hands on deck when it comes to their batting line-up. Tim Paine at No.7 is a very handy No.7, but the runs have to come from the top six. Keep an eye on Mitchell Marsh, I hope he has a good summer.”

Taylor said that India, with strong batting and bowling throughout their team, posed a serious threat to win their first Test series on Australian soil, against a home side missing Steve Smith and David Warner.

“They’ve got the tools to beat Australia,” Taylor said.

“Have they got he confidence to win in Australia? That will be the big key. If they can make the runs, I would say 300-400 per innings, if they can do that, they’re going to put Australia under enormous pressure.”

Australia had picked a Justin Langer lookalike in Marcus Harris, says former opener and captain Mark Taylor, who called for the left-hander to be picked for the first Test.

Victoria’s Harris, 26, seems likely to play the series opener against India in Adelaide, though Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh are all options to open.

Harris averages just 35.55 in first-class cricket but has been far more prolific in recent times. Taylor said that he should get the nod to make his Test debut on December 6.

“I like Marcus Harris,” Taylor said on Sports Sunday.

“I saw him in some JLT matches for Victoria, and before that for Western Australia.

“He’s very much like a Justin Langer-type player. He’s generally square of the wicket, he’s got a similar type of build, he’s a short guy; but punches the ball.

“This year, he’s really kicked on. He made a 200 against NSW at the MCG, averages about 47 for Victoria over the last couple of years, so he’s been consistent, and made a couple of big scores to say to the selectors, ‘I’m your guy’.

“I really hope he plays. I think he will; I think he’ll probably open the batting with Aaron Finch. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes playing for Australia.”

Langer, now the Australian coach, averaged 45.27 with 7,696 runs across 105 Tests for Australia, most of them opening the batting. Having coached Harris at Western Australia, only to see him depart for Victoria, he once lamented that the young lefty was a “mediocre” player.

Yet he gave a strong defence of those comments after Harris was selected.

“Let me squash this straight away – Marcus Harris is like my little brother,” Langer said.

“I’ve known him at Scarborough Cricket Club since he was about 10 years old.

“Did I saw mediocre with flashes of brilliance? Yeah, I did, because that’s what he was. That’s the truth, look at it.

“I used to turn up every Sheffield Shield game to watch my little brother bat, I could not wait to watch him bat because I love the way he goes about his business. I used to work hard, I used to throw millions of balls to him … then he’d get 20 and I’d want to shake him every time. I’d want to shake him and say, ‘Mate, you’re getting 20s, that’s mediocre’.

“Is 20 mediocre? Is 20 mediocre? For anyone, for a batsman, is 20 mediocre? For a guy who’s a professional, is 20 mediocre?

“The he’d come out and play these amazing innings when he was in Shield finals, white-ball finals … and we were going, ‘Brilliant’.

“What he’s done, to his immense credit, is he’s become a really consistent opening batsman with flashes of brilliance. That’s what really good players do.

“That’s why he’s been selected to play for Australia, because he’s transformed himself [from] a young bloke who got a lot of 20s and some brilliant centuries into a lot more consistent performances. He’s had two very good seasons.

“I keep reading your guys’ headlines [suggesting a rift] … I love him. He’s like my little brother, he makes me laugh every time I see him. So when I read those things, it’s kind of like a dagger to my heart, because I know it’s actually not what happened.”

Harris also revealed that Langer had been quick to text him after his selection.

“He texted me before and said ‘Welcome to the brotherhood, you little bastard’,” Harris told reporters, adding that he wasn’t upset by Langer’s previous criticism.

“It didn’t really wind me up too much with what he said. We ended on good terms.

“I understood that if you put a lot of time into someone and they leave the state you’d be upset. That was fine by me. It’s all good, no worries there.”

Aside from Harris, Taylor said he was anxious to see Mitchell Marsh have a big summer.

“Shaun Marsh is a good player, averaged 74 last year in the Ashes series. Mitchell Marsh is the one that really needs to step up this year. Mitchell Marsh averages just over 20 for Western Australia at No.6; he’s got to be better than that,” Taylor said.

“Australia need all hands on deck when it comes to their batting line-up. Tim Paine at No.7 is a very handy No.7, but the runs have to come from the top six. Keep an eye on Mitchell Marsh, I hope he has a good summer.”

Taylor said that India, with strong batting and bowling throughout their team, posed a serious threat to win their first Test series on Australian soil, against a home side missing Steve Smith and David Warner.

“They’ve got the tools to beat Australia,” Taylor said.

“Have they got he confidence to win in Australia? That will be the big key. If they can make the runs, I would say 300-400 per innings, if they can do that, they’re going to put Australia under enormous pressure.”

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