Finch a front-runner to lead World Cup bid | cricketnetwork.com

Finch a front-runner to lead World Cup bid

15 April 2018

Australian opener ready to extend his leadership role with the nation's limited-overs teams ahead England tour

Aaron Finch has tentatively put his hand up to be Australia's next limited-overs captain but admits he's given no thought to potentially taking on the job in the aftermath of the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

A little more than 12 months out from next year's 50-over World Cup, Australia are without a captain for their one-day international side with no decision expected on a replacement for Steve Smith until a squad is picked for the limited-overs tour of the United Kingdom early next month.

Quick-fire Finch blasts Aussies to T20 win

Tim Paine has been appointed Australia's 46th Test captain in the wake of the 12-month bans handed to captain Smith and his deputy David Warner for their roles in their roles in the Cape Town controversy.

And with South Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey named on Cricket Australia's limited-overs focussed national contracts list for 2018-19, Paine is no certainty to even play the white-ball formats.

Finch, having twice filled in as ODI skipper as well as taking the reins of the national T20 side between 2014 and 2016, would appear the most qualified candidate should Australia opt to split the Test and limited-overs jobs.

Other contenders could include Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head and Peter Handscomb – all three are current captains of their state sides. Paine may also be in the mix, but selectors (and the Cricket Australia Board, which has to approve captaincy appointments) will likely think twice before overburdening the wicketkeeper with all three jobs.

The decision comes at a crucial juncture for the reigning ODI world champions; whoever is appointed to the job looks set to take the reins for their World Cup defence in the United Kingdom next year given Smith and Warner are both precluded from holding leadership roles with the national side – the former until March 2020, the latter for his career.

"I'd definitely put my hand up for it but I haven't thought about it to be honest," Finch told cricket.com.au from India, where he's recently begun a stint with IPL side Kings XI Punjab.

"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."

While Smith and Warner could be back for next year's World Cup in a playing capacity, Australia will be forced to make do without them for June's five-ODI, one-T20I series against England, and a T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe to follow.

Eoin Morgan's England side has become the benchmark in 50-over cricket in recent years, dismantling Australia in January's Gillette ODI series with a comprehensive 4-1 win.

And while defeating them on their home turf without Smith and Warner looks a difficult task, Finch remains upbeat and believes the experience of playing on many of the same venues that will be used for the World Cup will hold the visitors in good stead.

Fantastic Finch makes it back-to-back tons

"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.

Fantastic Finch scores ODI ton No.9

"England are a fantastic one-day side, they proved that in Australia, they've had some great results over the last few years in one-day and T20 formats.

"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."

Finch first captained Australia v Pakistan in 2014 // Getty
Finch first captained Australia v Pakistan in 2014 // Getty

Finch was appointed Australia's full-time T20 skipper in 2014, a role he only he sporadically had the opportunity to fulfil given the scarcity of international 20-over matches, and was replaced by Smith ahead of the 2016 World T20.

The 31-year-old has captained Melbourne Renegades since the second edition of the KFC Big Bash League and has also led Victoria both first-class and one-day cricket.

Finch says he's learnt to approach the captaincy with a cooler head in recent years, crediting Bushrangers and Renegades coach Andrew McDonald with improving his leadership nous.

"When I first started out I was little bit, just throw caution to the wind," Finch continued. "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.

"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."

About the Writer

 @LouisDBCameron
@LouisDBCameron

Louis Cameron is a Melbourne-based journalist. A former Victorian Bushrangers fast bowler, Louis joined the cricket.com.au team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program in 2016.