Mitch Marsh after making his unbeaten century. Picture: cricket.com.au

Australian and Perth Scorchers all-rounder Mitch Marsh is excited to play games at the Furnace in Western Australia after winning the BBL|11 title and spending the whole season away from home.

Last season, Marsh was one of the Scorchers’ most integral players as they made their way to Big Bash glory.

The all-rounder only played in eight matches due to injury and international duty but when he was in the middle he was damaging. He finished the season with 347 runs, at an average of 57.83 and a strike rate of 142.80.

After not playing a game in Western Australia and a lot of unknowns with COVID last year, Marsh said there is a positive feeling towards the start of the summer and getting back in front of the loyal Perth Scorchers fans.

“I think just probably the hardest part through the COVID period was all the unknown, in terms of when you left home, when you were going to be allowed back in and quarantine,” Marsh said at the unveiling of a mural celebrating the 2021-22 KFC Big Bash League and Weber Women’s Big Bash League Championship titles.

“I think it’s made a lot easier now knowing that we’re going to be in and out, [spending] time at home. We play at The Furnance on Boxing Day, we got Christmas at home so we’re pretty much back to normal now.

“To know we’ve got home games throughout the summer, it’s exciting, playing in front of your home fans is a real buzz, that’s why you play, to hopefully entertain people of Western Australia.

“The Scorchers as a whole organisation, we’re very lucky to have the fans we’ve got but most importantly the support we’ve got from the whole state. Throughout the Big Bash period, you see so much orange around WA, that’s why you play. So it’s going to be a very exciting summer.”

Piepa Cleary, Aaron Hardie, and Mitch Marsh standing in front of the Double Champs mural. (Image: @ScorchersBBL – Twitter)

The 30-year-old is a mainstay in both white-ball formats for Australia and was expected to miss out on the back end of the tournament with the South Africa ODI series scheduled for mid-January. However, with South Africa’s recent withdrawal from the three-match series, Marsh will be available for the entirety of BBL|12.

“Yeah, it looks like I’ll probably play all the games hopefully. Anytime I get to play for the Scorchers, hopefully, people see the way I play for us as just playing with a bunch of guys that I love,” he said.

“I love representing Western Australia, the fact that this year we’re going to be playing seven home games at Perth Stadium and hopefully filling it up will just be amazing. We’re excited and hopefully, people in WA are excited to come watch us play again.”

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After such a challenging season that saw them win the BBL|11 title, Marsh hopes Perth get the opportunity to win one in front of the home fans.

“It’s crazy, I look back now when you reflect on the season we had, playing all of our games away, on the road. The team that we had, everyone bought into the challenges we faced but I reckon winning one in front of your home fans will top everything, so hopefully, that’s the case.”

The destructive batter’s cricket schedule has kept him busy for the past 18 months, the last match he played was the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka on June 24. After spending a lot of time in bio-security bubbles during home and overseas tours, Marsh explained how much he’s enjoyed the break.

“It’s been incredible, I think from October last year it’s been about 10 or 12 days at home outside of quarantine,” he said.

“To have a couple of weeks at home, see my family, train with the WACA (Western Australian Cricket Association) boys, getting back to the preseason as tough as preseason can be at times, getting back and seeing everyone at the WACA, it’s really refreshing.”

Marsh’s form at the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was one of the reasons Australia went all the way to win the tournament.

With the next edition of the tournament to be held in Australia in October later this year, Marsh is excited about the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd in a World Cup after not getting much of an opportunity at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

“You know to hopefully get the opportunity to play in front of home crowds in a World Cup. I’ve played a few [matches] in 2015 but ran the drinks for most of it. So, I’m hopeful I’m going to be there, right in the thick of it and hopefully, we can go back to back,” he said.

The Perth Scorchers are due to begin their BBL campaign on December 17 against the Sydney Sixers at Optus Stadium.

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