The Marsh brothers’ mutual dream of playing a Test together is one step closer, but the circumstances won’t please either of them.
Shaun Marsh was called into Australia’s Test squad on Thursday as cover for hamstrung captain Michael Clarke.
Marsh joined sibling Mitch in what became a 13-man squad for the opening clash of the rescheduled four-Test series against India, which starts at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
Clarke and his grief-stricken teammates attended Phillip Hughes’ funeral in Macksville on Wednesday.
Test squad players and their partners took a charter flight from nearby Coffs Harbour to Sydney on Thursday morning, although Clarke was notably absent.
The 33-year-old has been a rock for teammates and Hughes’ family following his close friend’s shock death.
It’s still not clear if any players will withdraw from next week’s Test, but they have been promised that option by Cricket Australia.
The entire squad will be willing their heartbroken skipper to get on the park, but the addition of a shadow batsman is a reminder of Clarke’s recurring hamstring woes.
The Marsh brothers landed in Adelaide alongside Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Steve Smith and Chris Rogers on Thursday afternoon.
A series of staggered arrivals will end on Friday morning, when the Test squad train together for the first time since losing 2-0 to Pakistan in the UAE.
Shaun and Mitch, sons of 50-Test batsman Geoff, could become the first brothers to play in an Australian Test side since Mark and Steve Waugh in 2002.
“It would be huge,” Shaun Marsh said last month.
“From a young age, we’ve both wanted to play Test cricket.”
Mitch will next week play his first Test on home soil, having made an impressive debut against Pakistan in October.
Shaun’s greatest Test knocks have all come overseas.
In Australia he has amassed 17 runs from six innings, all against India in 2011-12.
Hughes and Shaun Marsh were the leading candidates to replace Clarke last month, when the skipper was set to be ruled out of the first Test in Brisbane.
The two were in action for their respective states on November 25.
Marsh brought up a century with three sixes off Victoria legspinner Fawad Ahmed at the MCG, but like all cricketers was in a state of shock.
Hughes had been struck by a bouncer at the SCG and rushed to hospital for emergency brain surgery.
Hughes’ life support was switched off two days later.
“The way he was going at the SCG on that fateful day was a fair indication he was on his way back into the Australian team,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann wrote of Hughes in a News Corp Australia column.
“I have no doubts he could have played 100 Tests.”
* 31-year-old batsman
* Batting average of 32.86 from 9 Tests
* Scored an outstanding century on Test debut in 2011, but has been stop-start career since MITCH MARSH
*Batting average of 41.00 from 2 Tests
* Scored 87 and 47 in Abu Dhabi as Australia fell to a 356-run loss. THE BEST OF AUSTRALIAN CRICKET BROTHERS:
* Ian, Greg and Trevor Chappell
* Mark and Steve Waugh
* Hugh and John Trumble
* Mike and David Hussey
* Brett and Shane Lee
* James and Darren Pattinson.