Since the arrival of Indian Premier League, many players have turned their backs on their national teams to play for the league's franchise sides. This has generated an unprecedented country vs club issue that the cricket world hasn't yet been able to come to terms with.
Examples are aplenty of players who chose IPL and other T20 leagues around the world over representing their nation, especially in Test cricket. But now, there is one example that has come up from Australia which is the exact opposite.
Mitchell Marsh, who picked up career best figures of 5/49 in the first innings of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval, apparently chose to remain loyal to Test cricket and the national team by sacrificing an offer worth $3 million to play in the IPL.
This fact was revealed by Australian sports writer Robert Craddock while talking to Fox News. "Mitchell Marsh turned his back on about $3 million of Indian Premier League money to make this (Test) squad. It's basically a $3 million sacrifice for one Test. Extraordinary really."
While there is no official confirmation of this claim of Craddock from people involved in the IPL, there is good reason to believe that it isn't complete fantasy either. He got a $1 million deal from Rising Pune Supergiants in the 2016 season. It isn't out of the bounds of possibility that this amount would have trebled for the latest season.
But the all-rounder decided that he would instead go to England and play county cricket for Surrey – a clever decision with the Ashes series coming up.
"That's the lure of the IPL, the money and playing in India, but I made my decision based on cricket. We've got a lot of cricket coming up in England over the next few years and I want to give myself the best opportunity....and get used to the conditions (in England in 2019)," Marsh explained his decision at the time.
As fate would have it, the tall, strapping all-rounder suffered an injury which prevented him from appearing for Surrey. But the story had a pleasant end for him as he was called up to the Australian squad and picked in the playing XI for the fifth and final Test.
Marsh responded with a brilliant bowling performance where he swung the ball and picked up his first five-for in Test cricket. Now, the focus shifts to his batting. If he has to hold onto his position in the Test team, the right-hander has to become a proper all-rounder.