Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting has left behind Aaron Finch, offering some words of wisdom for the national white-ball captain as he approaches the twilight of his playing career.
Approaching his 36th birthday, Finch will captain Australia’s crucial T20 World Cup campaign later this year, but the Victorian veteran has failed to silence his critics as he struggled for consistency over the past 18 months.
The powerful right-hander has averaged 17.55 in ODI cricket since the start of 2021, passing just 45 in his last 9 matches.
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Even during last year’s memorable T20 World Cup victory in the United Arab Emirates, Finch finished the tournament with a series of low scores – 9 (11) against the West Indies, a second-ball duck against Pakistan in the semi-final and 5 (5) 7) in the decider against New Zealand.
Finch’s terrific run of form continued on Sunday with a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe’s Townsville, where he scored 15.
The Australian skipper, who had been dropped early, delivered a long-on outside off-stump that moved the Kookaburra from the inside edge to the pegs.
“His season isn’t off to a great start,” commented Fox Cricket analyst Dan Ginnane.
“Aaron Finch, LBW, has been undone for a while.”
Australia suffered a fresh blow as Marsh’s news forced an ODI change.
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It was hoped that this Zimbabwe series would help Finch get some runs ahead of a busy summer of domestic cricket, but he now has two chances to regain some form before Australia are knocked out of the world No. 1 by New Zealand next month.
Finch He has smashed 19 centuries in Australian colors since making his international debut in 2011 and will open the game with David Warner regardless of the next two months. Finch and Warner have combined for over 10,000 runs at the top of the order in the last decade.
But Finch’s lack of runs is undeniably a concern with two major tournaments on the horizon.
Ponting, who suffered a similar setback towards the end of his playing career, sympathized with the Australian captain, telling him to stop worrying about getting out and focus on what he does best – hitting the ball from all angles.
“I don’t know where he is, head position wise now,” Ponting said CODE Sports.
But anyone who has played the game as a batter has at some point in their career. Towards the end of my career, when the runs weren’t flowing freely, I knew I was trying too hard to be perfect and do everything right, I wouldn’t let it free and play the way. I’ve always played.
“If I can give him any advice, it’s ‘stop worrying about being perfect, stop worrying about getting out, and start thinking about scoring first.’ If you think about runs you score runs, if you think about not getting out, you get out. That’s my experience in the game anyway.
But he is crucial to them. I’m sure if he’s captain and scores goals and is good enough to lead to the World Cup, the Australian team will be in a much better place.
Finch, Australia’s 12th highest run-scorer in ODI history, may retire from international cricket after next year’s World Cup in India, but the talented batsman is not thinking about retirement just yet.
“It’s something I haven’t thought about because I don’t want to think about it,” he said. The Australian this week.
“For one thing, everyone says you’re retired for a long time and you should make the most of it while you can.”
The second ODI between Australia and Zimbabwe begins on Wednesday at the Riverway Stadium, with first ball scheduled for 9.40am AEST.
Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out of the white-ball series after suffering an ankle injury, with Perth Scorers teammate Josh Inglis replacing him in the squad.
“He’s been playing some good white-ball cricket recently,” Australian batsman Steve Smith told reporters in Tonsville on Tuesday morning.
“The way we built our team the other day with a bunch of versatile players, he was a big part of that.
“It’s disappointing for Mitch, but there are some pretty good things coming up.
He was a big part of our T20 World Cup campaign last year and I’m sure there are bigger plans for him this year.
“The priority is to make it right for him.”
Read Ricky Ponting’s full interview with CODE Sports