Marsh key to Warriors hopes
Shaun Marsh. Pic: Getty Images

Shaun Marsh has been urged to become WA's premier batsman if the Warriors are to emerge from a decade of mediocrity this season.

Warriors coach Lachlan Stevens identified Marsh as one of the pivotal figures in WA's bid to convert years of unfulfilled potential into a pattern of sustained development.

"For a West Australian side to be successful, Shaun, at nearly 30 years of age, has to be our best player," Stevens said.

"I see him being our best player technically and he has to become our premier player with the bat."

Marsh starts his 13th State season on Sunday when WA take on a NSW team packed with current and recent internationals.

The opening one-dayer at the WACA Ground and the Sheffield Shield match next week have been fixtured several weeks earlier than any other start to a domestic season because both States will have Twenty20 teams competing in the lucrative Champions League in South Africa next month.

Test captain Michael Clarke will lead the Blues while wicket-keeper Brad Haddin and WA paceman Mitch Johnson will use the games to reinforce their claims for national recalls.

Marsh's undoubted class and considerable international success makes him a candidate for Australian honours but he will stay with WA for the foreseeable future after his nightmare series against India last summer ended a Test career that had started with a century.

Stevens admitted he could not predict whether Marsh would return to the Australian team but identified a path for him to follow to become a better cricketer and more mature person.

"I don't know what Shaun has to do to get back into the international program," Stevens said. "He had a tough run and didn't take his opportunities.

"It is hard once you are spat out of the system, whether that is Test level or State level, and there is an element of frustration and wonder at what went wrong. He needs to make Sheffield Shield and one-day cricket his focus.

"He can do that but it rests fairly on his shoulders. I hope he embraces the opportunity."

Much will be expected of Marsh who will most likely bat at No.3 in Sheffield Shield matches and open the batting in one-dayers.

Stevens said Marsh would have to become a foil to captain Marcus North and deputy Adam Voges.

"Shaun needs to show on and off the field that he is in a position where he is happy with himself and is helping others," Stevens said.

"He doesn't have to be the loudest talker but he needs to be doing the little things right all the time."

The West Australian

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