Mitch Marsh has celebrated an emotional Cricket World Cup triumph two and a half weeks after rushing home during the event to farewell his grandfather.
Australia’s victory in the final on Sunday put the 32-year-old on par with his dad Geoff as a World Cup winner.
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Geoff, a 1987 champion, was on hand to witness and enjoy the moment with his son but their shared experience was just one layer to a night that capped off a trying period for Marsh.
“Pure elation. I said to a few of the boys just earlier, it’s been the hardest eight weeks of cricket I’ve ever been a part of,” Marsh said.
“We were 0-2 (after two matches), and Sri Lanka were none for 0-120 (in Australia’s third game), so that feels like a lifetime ago. To be here with this group (as champions), it’s unbelievable.”
Marsh’s wife Greta also attended the final and joined in the celebrations.
Mitch Marsh celebrates Australia’s World Cup win with his dad Geoff, a 1987 World Cup winner. Credit: InstagramMarsh was followed off the field by his wife Greta before he celebrated with his teammates at the hotel. Credit: Instagram
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Marsh, like the Aussies as a whole, started slow but burst into life when he scored 52 to help beat Sri Lanka, before smacking 121 in a victory over Pakistan.
Two further wins followed before Marsh was suddenly on a flight home and ruled out of a big clash with England.
It emerged the following day, when the reason why he had left remained private, that he always planned to return – promising teammates he’d be back to lift the trophy.
“He’s doing the right thing, and he’s getting home, and he’s seeing the people he needs to see,” teammate and close friend Marcus Stoinis said at the time.
“I don’t think there’s a timeline on when he’s coming back but I’m sure he’ll do what he needs to do at home and then get back.
“And he sent a message last night saying ‘I’ll be home for a little bit, and then I’m coming back to win this World Cup’. So that speaks to his mindset.”
It was later revealed Marsh had flown to Perth to say goodbye to his maternal grandfather Ross.
The cricketer said he was sitting with his grandmother when he noticed his teammates wearing black armbands against England in memory of his pop.
He returned to the World Cup in the days after his grandfather’s death, watched the funeral before training and then struck an incredible 177 not out against Bangladesh.
Mitch Marsh returned to the tournament and struck a career-best 177 not out. Credit: Matthew Lewis/ICC via Getty Images
“I’m sure my nanna, mum and all the family will be watching at home, so hopefully it’s put a smile on their faces,” Marsh said afterwards.
“My pop was a great man and a huge cricket supporter and they celebrated his life yesterday. Obviously, it’s been a challenging week for the family. It was nice to be able to perform for them and nice to get the win.”
That knock would prove to be Marsh’s last great individual feat of the World Cup.
He was not asked to bowl in the semi-final against South Africa and recorded a six-ball duck in Australia’s successful chase.
In the final against India on Sunday, he bowled two overs and conceded just five runs before a quickfire cameo with the bat.
Forced into the action in just the second over, Marsh struck a boundary and a six before he was dismissed for 15 runs off 15 balls.
The wicket contributed to an early collapse that threatened Australia’s run chase but, thanks to Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, it didn’t prove costly.
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