Shaun Marsh is targeting a strong finish to his overseas stay with Yorkshire when he plays against Surrey from tomorrow.
Australian international Marsh is making his 13th and final appearance of the summer for the White Rose county, their crucial Specsavers County Championship at the Oval.
Yorkshire head into the clash, their first of three remaining fixtures, 13 points clear of second-bottom Somerset.
Marsh and co are fifth in the table and will go in search of their fourth Championship win of the campaign.
They drew against Middlesex at Headingley last week, with Marsh scoring 22 on his first of two Championship appearances.
No doubt about it, a win and runs this week would be the ideal leaving present for the 34-year-old left-hander, who is keen on returning to Headingley in the future.
“I’d like to come back, of course,” said Marsh, who played the majority of Yorkshire’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign, scoring 289 runs from eleven innings with two scores of 60.
“It’s been a great experience for me. My family have really enjoyed it as well. The club’s been fantastic to them.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t make it to the finals of the T20 competition.
“There were a few games we should have won. To score over 200 on four occasions is an amazing achievement. But in the end, it wasn’t quite good enough.
“Overall, I’ve loved it. Hopefully I can finish off strong before I go home and things work out in the future.”
Marsh is returning home to prepare for Western Australia’s domestic campaign, starting on September 29 in the JLT one-day Cup.
That is the day after Yorkshire finish their final Championship match against Essex at Chelmsford, when West Indian Kraigg Brathwaite will be opening the batting instead.
“I’m right back into it, which is good,” he said.
“I haven’t gone into a season back home off the back of some county cricket before. I think it’s a great thing. A lot of guys have done it, and it’s given them an edge, especially the batsmen.”
On Brathwaite’s signing, he said: “He’s a really good player.
“He’s obviously played well over here in the Test Matches, and I’m sure he will get a few runs for Yorkshire.
“I’ve played against him a few times, but he’s improved a lot over the last 12 months. To score the runs he has done over here shows what talent he has.”
Marsh returns to Australia to play in the early stages of a domestic summer which will see a host of players make a last ditch bid for Ashes selection.
That obviously includes himself, although it is certainly not something which is consuming his thoughts.
Marsh has played 23 Tests for Australia, but the last of them came in India in March and he missed the most recent tour to Bangladesh.
“It’s a long way away for me, but it’s something I’m not really thinking about to be honest,” he said of a recall.
“I just want to focus on finishing up well with Yorkshire and getting back to WA and playing well with them. I just want to play well and see what happens. It’s all about runs, which are your currency.
“It’s going to be a cracking series. Two quality teams. It doesn’t get much bigger than the Ashes in our back yard. I know the boys are really looking forward to.
“I think we’re favourites in our conditions, but England will provide a great challenge. They have some real quality players.
“Joe Root’s shown how good a player he is, and I’m sure the Aussies will be out there to nullify his influence.
“If they do that, it goes a long way to winning the series.”
Marsh played the vast majority of Yorkshire’s T20 Blast campaign, but was forced onto the sidelines having been struck on the head whilst batting in the home defeat against Derbyshire last month and diagnosed with concussion.
He missed one Blast match and one Championship match as a result.
“It was frustrating at the time, missing a few games. But it all worked out in the end. I’m feeling good again,” he added.
“At first I didn’t think much of it. It was only when I went back onto the ground to have a catch at mid-innings that I started to feel a bit wobbly in the legs and not quite right.
“I got diagnosed with mild concussion, which is the first time it’s happened in my career. It was frustrating because I missed a couple of games of cricket, including the four-day game at Scarborough. I was really disappointed about that one.
“But, with everything that’s happened over the past few years, you’ve got to take the cautious approach. It’s all good now.”
Yorkshire sit fifth in Division One level on 114 points with Middlesex in sixth.
Surrey are in danger of being dragged into a fight at the bottom. They are 10 points clear of Yorkshire in fourth.
Surrey have drawn nine of their eleven matches, winning and losing one. They drew with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl last week.
Gary Ballance ©
Andrew Hodd (WK)
o Yorkshire have not lost to Surrey once in their last nine encounters (W2 D7).
o Surrey however have only tasted defeat to Yorkshire once in the last 19 home games played against them (W6 D12).
o Nine of the last 10 games involving Surrey have ended in a draw (L1).
o Ollie Pope (Surrey) registered his maiden first-class century in his last appearance (100* v Hampshire).