Rod Marsh – traitor and treason

Rod Marsh is to blame for the current state of English cricket.  Without Marsh, the English team would still be full of hacks and has-beens.  They would still be losers.


Marsh changed all that.  Back in 2001, his traitorous appointment as Director of England’s national academy bordered on treason.  It should never have been allowed to happen.


Loyalty to country was shunned for silver.  Marsh went to work for the enemy.


When Marsh retired in 1984, he wasn’t content to bask in former glory.  His retirement, along with Dennis Lillee and Greg Chappell, left a void in the national team.  Hard times were had.


To arrest the slide, Marsh helped establish Australia’s cricket academy in 1987.  He talked tough and across the years, shaped raw youngsters into hardened men.


His achievements at the academy propelled Australia to world dominance.  Targets were met, competitors bested.  Marsh’s legendary status was accentuated by his coaching ability.


When he quit the academy, he could’ve plonked his satisfied backside in the commentary box and rambled on.


Instead, he went to England as Director of the English and Wales cricket board’s national academy.  Those hard lessons he bestowed on Australian youth were now thrust at anyone in England who could hold a bat the right way and hit the pitch with the ball.


Marsh, along with compatriot Troy Cooley, taught a shambling cricket team how to bat, catch, bowl, spin and swing the ball.  England learned how to develop a plan for opposition players.  Marsh instructed them on sledging and insisted they back up their cricket with unbridled passion, aggression and pressure.


He took England from rock bottom to nadir in four years.  The Poms hadn’t won the Ashes in sixteen years but they regained them in a magnificent home series in 2005.


The 2-1 victory sent shock waves through Australia’s psyche.  Marsh watched passively from the stands.  Any patriotic sense of betrayal was hidden behind sunglasses and his greying moustache.


Marsh quit the academy soon after, but the Poms proved to be apt pupils.  The professionalism and thoroughness he demanded have been bestowed on a new generation.  The production line Marsh craved is apparent.


The mantra, to beat the Aussies you must play like Aussies, is imprinted on their psyche.

It is why Australia is favoured to lose a fourth consecutive Ashes series.  The invincibility is gone, shunted into retirement along with a bevy of champions.  Our batsmen are susceptible to line and length, spin and swing.  The bowlers needed Craig McDermott to teach them how to swing the ball by pitching it up.


England will expose those frailties.  Rod Marsh is to blame.


It was un-Australian of Marsh to coach England.  His knowledge should’ve been kept in Australia.  Of course, he wasn’t the first Australian to help the Poms.


For a hundred years, Australia’s best cricketers have played and coach in England’s County system.  Our league and union players are helping out too, relocating to England where they get paid big bucks to play and coach, to help make English sport better.


It seemed lip service, because England didn’t improve.  The double cross worked for years until Marsh went to the cricket academy with a serious attitude and a simple message, listen to me if you want to win.


They listened.  Rod Marsh transformed England cricket.  Hard luck losers like Darren Gough, Mike Atherton and Alex Stewart made way for solidified individuals like Jimmy Anderson, Alistair Cook and Andrew Flintoff, men who refused to bleed and lose.


Marsh changed the attitude of England cricket.  Hello has become get stuffedDon’t expect sympathy if you bleed on the pitch, and we will piss on it after we win the Ashes again.   


England, prior to Marsh’s interference, often put up a moderate fight but at least they kept losing.  It was fun to watch Warne and McGrath, Waugh and Ponting and a host of others terrorise the hapless Poms.


What better country to lose?


Rod Marsh should be feted in England.  He had the biggest impact on their cricket in 30 years.  It is no surprise it took an Australian to generate the improvement.  It is no surprise the Poms reached out to Marsh.


Marsh is a legend of the game, a great Australian, but he took our mentality and technique to England.  Australian cricket has suffered because of the deeds of men Marsh helped create.


He will argue his achievements are good for cricket.  That is rubbish.  His achievements are good for English cricket.


One wonders, then, his loyalties as the Ashes draw near, because loyalty is transferrable, if there is a message to be taught…


About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Cat from the counrty says

    Get a life!
    Changing countries is the same as changing teams.

    How many international sports people and celebs does Australia claim as its own?

    When people choose to go somewhere we don’t like, that is no reason to call one a traitor.

    The Cats have freed up Paul Chapman, Josh Hunt, James Podsiadly and Trent West. Are they to be considered trsitors because the went to another
    With Stewart Crameri going to the Diggies does that make him a traitor?

    What about soccer (football) players. They change teams nearly as often as they change their jocks.

    The Aussie cricketers will be good again when they learn to play as a team and play the way that made them worth selection.

    And if Rod Marsh has been so good for England, why was he not helping the Aussies! Perhaps you are placing too much emphasis onto Rod’s effect. Perhaps the Poms found “it” themselves

  2. Iron Mike sums up Iron Gloves.

  3. Sean Gorman says

    Oh Dear.

  4. Tone is one of the hardest things to judge as a reader. Irony or earnestness?
    When I read Matt’s piece this morning I just thought “his tongues firmly in his cheek/he’s taking the piss I reckon”.
    I based my instinct on 2 things:
    – Overuse of the hyperbole around traitor and treason. He used it so much I thought I detected a wink.
    – His previous track record as a writer. Matt likes a dig, but there is generally a solid core of reason and analysis, not xenophobic rants.
    The trouble with irony and sarcasm is that it is hard to judge. Gough Whitlam loved to do self-deprecating overreach. The aficionados adored his cleverness. His staff hated it because most people who only saw the 30 second TV news grab thought he was up himself. Most people are understandably disconnected from politics, so the common man has no previous form to gauge the run by.
    I re-read Matt’s piece a couple of times after CC’s comments, and then those of other readers.
    Either Matt was being ironic (my bet) or he’s a dill (and he has no priors on that score – he is cruel, but fair).
    Maybe he’ll let us in on the joke (or otherwise). Maybe jokes should never be explained, so he will take it to authorial grave.
    Cricket Australia was the traitor for given not giving the best brain and the best proven track record in cricket coaching, the contract and the authority to do what he believed needed doing. We turned our back on him, just as our swimming and cycling coaches now grace our competitors.
    In large part that is because Australia is such a small part of the international sporting market, we don’t have the volume to sustain the best people.
    Cricket has no excuse, other than predictable stupidity and narrow vision.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Peter I too was was wondering was this meant to be sarcasm ? I answer with
    You can’t be serious ! There is too much importance on , Marshs role in the past success sure he was a important but it was the whole structure and while , England have improved a he’ll of a lot thru there imports , we have slipped far further which is a complex problem which I am not sure if it can be fixed , at least as a south aussie we have two exciting batsmen in , Travis Head and , Kelvin Smith I also rate , Burns from Qld highly so hopefully the wheel is turning ever so slowly
    In conclusion Marsh important but not the holy grail

  6. HI all,
    I can’t be serious…
    I was hoping that miscreant KP and that dullard Alistair Cook would read this and start questioning their heritage, among other things.

  7. Cruel but fair? Surely these cannot be mutually inclusive? Possibly hard but fair is the correct descriptor? As I write this Broad has Rogers for 1 – That was Bacchus’s fault ….really it was.

Leave a Comment