UPDATE: Mitch Marsh has declared he will remain with the Warriors and claimed he had never considered moving interstate.
The 20-year-old went on Twitter this morning to declare he would remain loyal to the Warriors despite a pay dispute that put at risk his future in WA.
“I’m fully committed to @waca_cricket and never contemplated leaving,” Marsh tweeted.
Marsh’s comments came after The West Australian reported that he was in danger of abandoning the Warriors after asking for a hefty pay rise to near the $150,000 maximum State contract.
Marsh had not agreed to terms with the WACA yesterday but is likely to sign a new WACA deal by today’s 5pm deadline.
Tasmanian wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt revealed that his friendship with Marsh was one of his reasons for signing with WA for the next two seasons.
Marsh was delighted to welcome his under 19 World Cup teammate to WA.
“Stoked to have my man @tomtriffitt19 at the Waca for the next few years, will be great for our squad!” he said on Twitter.
WACA chief executive Christina Matthews remained confident that Marsh would remain with WA but the loss of a player identified as a potential 10-year international could have had a more devastating impact on West Australian cricket than the ugly departures of Test batsmen Simon Katich and Chris Rogers last decade.
“We are still in negotiation but I am confident that we will retain all our players,” Matthews said.
While Marsh’s strong family ties provided a compelling reason for him to stay in Perth, NSW appeared to have the strongest chance of snaring him.
The Blues have significant salary cap room given the retirements of internationals Katich, Phil Jaques, Stuart Clark and Beau Casson and the interstate departures of fellow Test men Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Nathan Hauritz.
Marsh’s brother Shaun will command a significant portion of WA’s $1.3 million salary cap after losing his Cricket Australia contract while their father Geoff is the WACA’s development coach.
Marsh’s manager Stephen Atkinson would not comment on the WACA negotiations but confirmed that trouble-prone batsman Luke Pomersbach, who stood down from the Warriors at the start of last season, would attempt to resurrect his career in Queensland after signing with the Bulls yesterday.
Marsh has displayed significantly greater promise than performance during the start to his career but has been earmarked as a key figure in Australia’s long-term plans.
While his Sheffield Shield returns are modest – he has 595 runs at 22.04 and 20 wickets at 29.60 from 16 matches – his potential is underlined by the fact that Test great Doug Walters is the only Australian to have scored a shield century and taken six wickets in an innings at a younger age.
And Marsh has produced several outstanding cameos on the international stage including a blazing 36 off 21 balls in his Twenty20 debut against South Africa last year as well as a handful of strong efforts in the Indian Premier League.
The potential loss of Marsh would have been a massive blow for the Warriors who have struggled to be competitive at first-class level since they last won the shield in 1998-99.
WA also have to find salary cap room for recent internationals Michael Beer, Marcus North and Adam Voges.
Although CA rules prevent Big Bash contracts being offered until next Monday, promising paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile is set to receive a lucrative deal to join Twenty20 franchise Melbourne Renegades.
The WACA failed to convince Test wicketkeeper Tim Paine and all-rounder Luke Butterworth to leave Tasmania, and one-day batsman Callum Ferguson will remain with South Australia, but succeeded in convincing Triffitt to replace New Zealand-bound Luke Ronchi.
Paine’s arrival would have denied Cam Bancroft a rookie contract but the WACA has since signed the young gloveman alongside another promising keeper in Sam Whiteman.
The States will each sign between 15 and 20 players to senior contracts as well as up to eight rookies.
Triffitt confirmed that Paine’s recovery from a serious finger injury meant his opportunities would be limited in Tasmania.
“With Tim Paine coming back from injury I have had the opportunity to move west and I am looking forward to a long career with the Warriors,” he said.
“It is sad to leave my home state but I can’t wait to get over to Perth.
“I have a few friends in the Warriors such as Mitch Marsh, Tom Beaton and Travis Birt, who I all played with.
“I also look forward to getting to know the other guys in the squad and hopefully enjoy some success.”