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Waugh wants Marsh batting aggressively

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Darren Walton

Australian selector Mark Waugh is urging Mitch Marsh to bat with more authority as the allrounder fights to save his Test career.

Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh placed his namesake on notice last week and now Waugh agrees the 25-year-old must stand up in the first Test against South Africa starting in Perth on Thursday.

Drifting in and out of the Australian side throughout his two-year, 18-Test career, Marsh averages just 24 with the bat and is yet to post a century.

"I see Mitch Marsh as a long-term player but, like anyone, he's got to deliver," Waugh said on Fox Sports' Inside Cricket show on Wednesday night.

"But, to me, he's a genuine allrounder. He can get a hundred and he can take five wickets.

"So it's up to him now."

Former Australian captain Allan Border, also a former selector, said Marsh couldn't continue batting in the top six without contributing some big scores.

"He's got to step up now," Border said.

"Look, fingers crossed it all happens for him this summer.

"He's been batting well and just getting 20s and 30s, so he's just got to work out how he gets past that period and get some big, big scores for Australia."

Regarded as one of Australia's most naturally elegant batsmen during his own career, Waugh cautioned Marsh against curbing his attacking instincts.

"With the bat, he's better off being more aggressive," Waugh said.

"Sometimes he'll get to 30 and then he'll start poking around. That's when he gets himself out.

"He's a natural hitter of the ball. He just needs to make that breakthrough innings and he'll be right. He'll be off and going."

Meanwhile, Waugh revealed just how intense last week's selection debate was.

"There was probably four or five spots in that team where we agonised over," he said.

"It was the hardest selection meeting I've been involved in since I've been a selector and one of those spots was Jackson Bird, who bowled well in Melbourne.

"He was back to somewhere near his best at the Shield match at the MCG.

"He's definitely unlucky and he's in the mix ... it was a really tight decision."

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