Aaron Finch is game to captain Australia once again, should the selectors come calling.
With the suspensions of David Warner and Steven Smith, the team not only has to find new personnel but also appoint new leaders. Tim Paine – barely into a comeback into international cricket – became Australia’s 46th Test captain last month and now with an tour of England in June, focus shifts towards ODI cricket and planning for the 2019 World Cup.
“I’d definitely put my hand up for it, but I haven’t thought about it to be honest,” Finch, who is currently playing for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, told the Cricket Australia website. “It’s obviously a really difficult time and some changes are going to be made in the next couple of months with the England ODIs and the Dubai Tests [against Pakistan later this year]. If the opportunity came up, I’d love to take it but it’s not something that I’ve thought about.
“When I first started out I was little bit, just throw caution to the wind. You’d have your plans and sometimes they go out the window and you just have a gut feel. It’s great when it goes well [but] in time I’ve probably learnt to be a bit calmer out on the field, take a bit more of the planning that you have pre-game.”
Finch had been appointed Australia’s full-time T20 captain in 2014, but after six matches on the job, and with the 2016 World T20 on the horizon, Cricket Australia decided to have one captain for all three formats and gave the reins to Smith. But since then, Finch has grown into his role as a limited-overs cricketer and is now among the first names put down on a team sheet. He leads Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League and two months ago, he was named Australia’s T20 player of 2017.
Finch attributed the changes in him to Victoria and Renegades coach Andrew McDonald. “He’s been unbelievable. He’s probably the most thorough coach I’ve ever played under. He never leaves any stone unturned in terms of preparation and possible scenarios that will come up in games. He’s taught me a huge amount over the last couple of years in terms of captaincy and leadership in general.”
In assessing Australia’s prospects as they move forward from the ball-tampering scandal, Finch said the best way was to put a “positive spin” on things. Such as the two spots that have opened up with Smith and Warner suspended for 12 months.
“You are taking two of the best players in the world out of out of the side the only way you can deal with it is to put a real positive spin on it,” he said. “It’s obviously really unfortunate what’s happened, but there’s going to be a couple of spots open up and I’ve got no doubt the guys who are next in line can come in and do a fantastic job.
“It will give whoever is there a real opportunity to put their hand up and make sure they’re at the forefront of selectors’ minds when it is time for that World Cup. It will just give guys a real opportunity to measure their games against arguably the best, along with India, sides in the world. I don’t think that should be a daunting prospect, it should be something that’s really embraced.”
Australia’s work in the new season begins with a five-match ODI series against England on June 13.