Marsh brothers dropped as Scorchers draw the line
Joe Mennie (L) of Perth shakes hands with Michael Bates of the Aces after Perth's victory. Pic: Getty Images

Centurion is set to become the place where West Australian cricket decided that enough was enough.

The final match of Perth's dismal Champions League campaign ended with a 16-run win last night that stopped Auckland short of the semifinals and vindicated the Scorchers' tough selection stance.

Perth batted first to take advantage of the hard, white pitch and while their battle to reach 7-140 confirmed the obstacles hidden below the plain surface, their attack and sharp fielding suffocated the Aces.

Bowling with the probing flight that augers well for his higher prospects, Michael Beer's three timely wickets helped restrict Auckland to 8-124.

But the greatest significance came at the selection table where two of the State's most prominent players were dropped to send a clear message that talent would no longer be used to excuse poor judgment and behaviour.

"All I will say is that there were players who didn't play today who let the team down with their preparation last week," captain Marcus North said.

"Last week against Delhi, there were players in our side who didn't reach the standards in preparation that we required from them.

"I'm not talking the night before the Delhi game, but our preparation for the Delhi game while in Cape Town."

After the narrow loss to the Daredevils on Sunday which put the Scorchers out of contention for the semi-finals of the rich tournament, veteran batsman Simon Katich alluded to issues within the camp.

"We didn't prepare as well as we should have, and we paid the price," Katich said after the three-wicket defeat.

"...we got what we deserved, simple as that."

Shaun Marsh, who scored a magnificent debut Test century little over a year ago and is one of Twenty20's most effective and highly-paid players, paid the price for yet another poor choice off the field. He is not certain to play in WA's next Sheffield Shield match next week.

Mitch Marsh turned 21 at the weekend, has remarkable skill with bat and ball and is the brightest of a crop of emerging young Australian stars.

Yet like his older brother, Marsh has battled to avoid scrutiny for his recent behaviour away from the playing field.

He was sent home from the centre of excellence this year and may suffer short term selection pain in a bid to salvage a career at risk of losing its way.

The duo was the most prominent of a group of Perth players who celebrated hard at Mitch Marsh's birthday in Cape Town last week.

The decision to drop the Marshs may have weakened Perth initially and certainly delighted the Aces, although replacements Paul Collingwood (38) and Tom Beaton (22) were useful in their first matches of the tournament.

But it signalled a belief that rewarding wayward talent would not lift WA cricket from its decade of mediocrity.


The West Australian

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