Finch confident of leading Australia in Sunday’s T20 International clash with Lanka
ADELAIDE, Friday - Men’s T20 captain Aaron Finch remains confident of taking his place in Sunday’s international season opener against Sri Lanka, but admits he’s no certainty of overcoming a side strain.
Finch took part in the T20 squad’s fielding session at Adelaide Oval Friday and then faced throw-downs in the practice nets, but will be re-assessed ahead of Saturday’s training before a final call is made on his availability.
The 32-year-old claimed his recovery from the injury, which he sustained in a Marsh Sheffield Shield Match against South Australia in Melbourne earlier this month, is progressing well.
But he admitted the initial diagnosis had been complicated by the back spasms he suffered around the same time, with the “little tear” to his side not revealed until he underwent scans while in Perth a week ago.
While back troubles have been a semi-regular companion for Finch in the recent past, he attributed the side strain to Victoria’s run glut against South Australia in the summer’s first round of Shield games.
Batting at number five rather than in his regular white-ball role as opener, Finch was effectively a spectator as Victoria’s top-order piled on 3-473 before he went to the wicket in the 124th over, and promptly flayed 57 from 44 balls.
“It was just sitting down for a couple of days in that Shield game at the Junction, and then coming out and trying to swing a bit too hard,” Finch said of the side strain’s cause.
“There wasn’t one (shot) in particular, but it could have been any number. I went pretty hard.”
If Finch, who led Australia at this year’s ODI World Cup in the UK and is expected to do the same for the T20 World Cup at home next year, is unavailable he has two deputies ready to take on the role.
While joint vice-captains Pat Cummins and Alex Carey are yet to lead Australia at international level and boast little captaincy experience in senior interstate competition, they are undaunted at the prospect of taking the helm.
“If I was to take the reins for that game (against Sri Lanka on Sunday), I’d be more than happy to do that,” Carey said today.
“We’ve obviously got some pretty senior heads out there - Pat Cummins, another vice-captain, as well as David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell. So there’s lots of guys to call upon if Aaron was unfortunately not able to get up.”
Should Finch fail to fully recover, and the role is entrusted to Cummins he would become the first specialist bowler to captain Australia in men’s limited-overs cricket. And the first fast bowler to lead a national men’s team since Ray Lindwall captained his one and only Test against India at Mumbai in 1956.
But the 26-year-old quick does not subscribe to the historical view that fast bowlers carry a sufficiently hefty workload without burdening them with the additional responsibility of decision making.
And to support his view, he need only look at Australia’s opponents for the first three-match Gillette T20 International Series in which Sri Lanka will be led by veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga (aged 36).
“I think in T20 cricket, and I’ve seen it in a few leagues around the world, there’s been more fast bowling captains than perhaps in other formats,” Cummins said.”But I think you choose who’s going to be best for the role regardless of their role in the side.”
AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa
SRI LANKA SQUAD: Lasith Malinga (c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha.
Lanka-Australia T20I live on Sirasa TV
The Sri Lanka v Australia three-match T20 international cricket series will be shown live on Sirasa TV commencing with the first match at Adelaide on Sunday.
The second match is scheduled for October 30 at Brisbane and the third and final at Melbourne on November 1.
Women’s Emerging Team Asia Cup rescheduled again
Meanwhile the matches of the Women’s Emerging Team Asia Cup was once again rescheduled along with a change of venues. The decision was taken as the first four matches of the tournament had to be called off without a ball being bowled due to bad weather.