Former Test hitter Mark Waugh believes national coaches could be forced to take drastic action if Australia’s white-ball captain Aaron Finch doesn’t regain his form ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Last week, Finch has announced his retirement from ODI cricket after a horror run with the bat, averaging 12.42 in the 50+ format this year.
The 35-year-old will still lead Australia in next month’s T20 World Cup campaign on home soil, with his first match scheduled against New Zealand at the SCG on Saturday October 22.
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But before challenging for the coveted trophy, Australia will embark on a three-match tour of India before facing the West Indies and England in five home T20s.
These warm-up matches should give enough time for Finch, who led Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title in the United Arab Emirates last year, to rediscover his mojo and rack up some points heading into the tournament.
But despite the overwhelming support from the dressing room, Finch’s stick remains one of the main talking points ahead of Australia’s first T20 against India at Mohali.
The powerful right-hander’s eight most recent scores in international cricket are 5, 0, 5, 5, 1, 15, 0 and 0 – last week, he broke the all-time Australian record for most ODI ducks in a calendar year.
Even in last year’s T20 World Cup triumph in the subcontinent, Finch was far from his best with the bat, scoring 135 runs at 19.28 on a 116.37 strike rate.
Speaking to News Corp reporters at the Kayo Summer of Cricket launch last week, Waugh said Finch should not be considered a T20 World Cup lock solely because of his reputation.
“I think he needs to do some shopping,” he said.
“You don’t want to come into this tournament with nothing under your belt and no confidence.
“I was questioning his place in the team in T20 after the World Cup and that series in Sri Lanka.
“The selectors have gone down this path now, so they have to give him all the support they can, but at the end of the day his job is to score points.
“He opens the stick and yes he’s a good captain, but even for his own importance he’s going to want to score points.
“He’s an important player, so these eight games will tell us whether he’ll be a certain starter in every (World Cup) game, which we hope he will be.”
Despite his recent fall in the 50-over format, Finch’s numbers in T20 cricket are considerably more reassuring – he has averaged 30.87 in nine strokes this year at a strike rate of 121.67, including two fifty.
The Victorian remains Australia’s top scorer in T20 international history with 2855 at 35.24 and a strike rate of 145.29.
He is also Australia’s most successful captain in the game’s shortest format, leading his country with 35 wins and 27 losses.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Monday, Finch explained how T20 cricket differs from the game at 50 for opening hitters.
“In T20 cricket, I feel like my form has been really good for quite a while now,” he said.
“If you separate the ODI form and the T20 form, then they’re totally different… obviously they’re looking to be a bit more aggressive and take a bit more risk from the start. You just have to go really lucid.
“You are expected but also ready to take a decent amount of risk earlier in your innings than you would like.
“It’s about working with what I know I’ve been successful in the past and getting back to basics.
“And look at the ball. Sometimes you can get caught up a bit trying to hit the ball too hard or trying to close off part of the court.
“It’s just about reacting, rather than premeditating.”
Speaking to SCG reporters on Thursday morning, former roommate Glenn Maxwell hailed Finch as a dynamic strategist on the pitch.
“He’s brilliant with the whole strategy side, and the way he keeps the group nice and calm, and is able to communicate with the bowlers, that’s a very underrated thing in T20 cricket,” he said. he declares.
“You think it’s all a jumble and you’re following the plan, but he’s really good tactically. Don’t discount his value as a captain.
“Obviously it wasn’t the easiest moment in the last game of one-day cricket, but his attitude never changed and the professionalism he brought to the team was brilliant. We are very grateful because when he got back to work it was quite difficult and he took care of the band and brought them out on the other side.
“We are all very proud of the way he led us and grateful to have played under him.”
The first T20 between Australia and India kicks off at the Inderjit Singh Bindra Stadium on Tuesday night, with the first ball scheduled for midnight AEST.
Originally published as ‘His job is to score points’: Cricket legend’s warning to Australia captain Aaron Finch