Aussie cricket fans are heavily divided after Mitchell Marsh was drafted back into Australia’s Ashes side at the expense of vice-captain Travis Head.
The final Ashes Test is serving as the latest chapter in Marsh's stop-start career, but social media trolls are already outraged and he is yet to deliver or face a ball.
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The allrounder's elevation at the expense of Head is primarily because selectors want to ensure Australia's fast bowlers are given some respite in the Oval series finale.
However Head is Australia’s leading run-scorer since the Cape Town ball-tampering saga and averages 42 in 12 career Tests.
Marsh’s selection is a chance to stand up and show the improvements he's made since last year's Boxing Day Test, when he last donned the baggy green.
He was appointed vice-captain prior to the home summer of 2018-19 but things then went from bad to worse in a period he dubbed "the most challenging eight months of my life".
The 27-year-old was axed from the Test side, suffered severe bleeding after a blow to the box at training, then was overlooked for the World Cup squad and lost his Cricket Australia contract.
"He got some pretty honest feedback when he was dropped," Tim Paine said.
"About where he was at both physically and with his cricket.
"He had a choice to make. Either to sulk about it or to do something about it ... Mitch at the moment is as fit as we've seen him. He's worked his backside off.
"Certainly when he's fitter, his bowling goes to another level. Obviously if you're a boy the size he is, it's hard to run in all day when you're carrying a few extra kilos."
Paine’s ‘really tough call’ on Head
Selectors are yet to make a call on whether Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood will be rested from the series finale, which starts on Thursday.
Peter Siddle, who played the first two Tests, has been retained in a 12-man squad and could be recalled in place of the world's top-ranked bowler Cummins or an in-form Hazlewood.
Regardless of the attack, Justin Langer and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns want to ensure their fast bowlers aren't worked into the ground in London.
"It was a really tough call on Travis Head ... we felt like we needed some extra bowling," Paine said.
"(Need) to look after our big fast bowlers.
"It's not necessarily Travis being dropped. We've been really clear with Travis on why he isn't playing this game.
"We had to make a really tough call on someone and it happened to be Travis."
Head helped Australia salvage a draw at Lord's but has since logged scores of 0, 25, 19 and 12.
Paine insisted the South Australian remained "a big part of our future", however fans and pundits are gobsmacked that he was the man made to make way for Marsh.
Some went as far as to label Head’s axing ‘disgraceful’, while others could see the rationale.
Good side and good ins - can’t believe 🇦🇺 dropped Travis Head for Mitch Marsh. I’ve heard the rationale but simply don’t buy it.— Jim Wilson (@JimWilsonTV) September 11, 2019
Wouldn’t be a test series without a Marsh getting a game from the clouds— mitch harvey (@mitchharvey1) September 11, 2019
Mitch Marsh in. The man who has had more chances than anyone in else in Australian sport. Just clear the radio 📻 switchboards for wall-to-wall talkback @JohnnyClark83 @JoeyPigz @MitchellBScott @georgialinnell Easiest day you will ever work 😜😂🤣— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) September 11, 2019
I don't care that the #Ashes is already retained by Australia. Playing Mitch Marsh in place of Travis Head while David Warner gets a free pass is disgraceful.— Alexander Grant (@AlexGrantOz) September 11, 2019
Mitch Marsh has come in to support a bowling group which has shouldered a big workload. Sensible call. Aussies should be 3-0 up so the selectors have been in good form. #Ashes— Luke D'Anello (@LukeDAnello) September 11, 2019
Mitchell Marsh is replacing Travis head in the last test, this is beyond a joke #ashes— Nebz (@JNebz_) September 11, 2019
Steve Smith 🚫— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) September 11, 2019
David Warner 🚫
Mitch Marsh 🔨
Josh Hazlewood 🔨
Travis Head 🔨
Head joins Australia’s leadership curse, as fifth captain or VC to be axed or banned for a Test since start of 2018. Khawaja was also punted for last Test just days after skippering tour game. #Ashes
Travis Head has 105 runs @ 21 in #theashes.— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) September 11, 2019
While I understand Mitch Marsh has had plenty of chances, a seam-bowling all-rounder makes sense considering the load the bowlers have shouldered.
You could make a case for Michael Neser but would mean Tim Paine bats at 6.
Dear Travis Head,— Ben Way (@BenWayAUS) September 11, 2019
Well done on securing the Ashes. You regularly came in under pressure due to the failures of senior teammates and showed great positivity at the crease. Your fielding is elite and we see you as a future leader.
Ps - you’re dropped.
Pps - for Mitch Marsh
Australian Test Runs since Cape Town:— Tom Haylock (@thaylock) September 11, 2019
Head 853 (12 Tests)
Khawaja 721 (12)
Smith 671 (3)
Paine 517 (13)
Labushagne 501 (8)
Harris 363 (8)
1 player has been consistent through a tough time for Australia & has a test av of over 42. Let’s drop him for Marsh. #theashes #ashes2019
Travis Head is the future. Not sure what Marsh is.— Darren Silverman (@DrBlackVelvet) September 11, 2019
Batting average after 12 Test matches:— Nic Savage (@nic_savage1) September 11, 2019
Travis Head - 42.70
Michael Clarke - 41.81
Ricky Ponting - 38.33
Steve Smith - 34.77
Matthew Wade - 34.61
Justin Langer - 29.73
Mitch Marsh - 24.87#Ashes
Australia's 12-man squad for fifth Test:
David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitch Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.