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Cricket 2022: Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Mark Waugh says Aaron Finch need to be ‘opening or not in the team at all’, Shane Warne, World Cup

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With a T20 World Cup coming up in Australia later this year, Mark Waugh has raised concerns about Aaron Finch’s future in the side.

Aussie cricket legends Mark Waugh and Shane Warne have been left divided on skipper Aaron Finch’s future in the T20 set up.

Ahead of the fourth T20I against Sri Lanka — Australia leads 3-0 — Finch trumpeted changes, including the regular opener moving down as low as No. 5.

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Finch, who hasn’t scored a T20I 50 since July last year against the West Indies — now 11 innings ago — has been facing renewed questions despite leading Australia to T20 World Cup victory late last year.

In trying to reignite his form, Finch has tried batting down the order, however, the side brought Ashton Agar up to open, which Waugh said didn’t make sense as Finch struggled.

He said it was clear there were still several questions, including the position of Steve Smith in the T20 World Cup side and Finch’s position leading the side.

Finch came in first drop in the last match as the side appears to be try and fit Ben McDermott in the top of the order ahead of the World Cup defence, and teased a move as low as five in the order.

The 35-year-old white-ball skipper has had a horrid run over the past few years, scoring just 179 runs from 13 innings at 13.76 in BBL 2020-21.

However, having stood down from the captaincy of the Melbourne Renegades, Finch starred, topping the Renegades run scorers with 386 runs at 38.6 and a strike rate of 130.40.

And last year, Finch scored the second most runs for the calendar year, hitting 459 runs at an average of 28.68 and a strike rate of 125.06. He did play 17 matches though, less than only run scoring leader Mitchell Marsh, middle order batsman Matthew Wade and spinner Adam Zampa.

During the World Cup, while David Warner slammed 289 runs at an average of 48.17 and strike rate of 146.70, Finch scored 135 runs at 19.29 and a strike rate of 116.38.

And once he was unceremoniously dropped by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2020, Finch has been unable to nab an IPL contract.

While he does score more runs than most, he is also generally an opener and has the most opportunity to land big scores.

“In the ideal world, we want to see Aaron Finch make runs and not have to talk about it,” Waugh said. “But we’ve been talking about this for the past 15 months. Now, he’s not the player he was, there’s no doubt about that, and I think the stats do back that up. His strike rate in all forms of T20 cricket — IPL, Big Bash and T20 Internationals — has dropped 20 points over the past two years, from 145 to about 125. His average has dropped from about 35 to the high 20s and it’s probably the way he’s batting, he’s just not dominating like he used to. I think he’s a little uncomfortable against raw pace and wrist spin, so he really needs to finish this series really strongly. I’d have him opening again, I don’t know what he didn’t open the other night when he needs runs moving forward. I’m not saying he won’t be there for the World Cup but it’d be great to see him get into some sort of form.”

Finch has just once 50 in his last 16 T20 innings and in that time, has averaged just 22 with a strike rate of 114.

Asked about whether Finch needs to open the batting to rediscover his form, Waugh said it’s intriguing as player of the last T20 World Cup David Warner is already locked in for one opening spot.

“There are probably three or four others who could do the job — McDermott, Josh Philippe, Marcus Stoinis, Josh Inglis — so there’s lot of choice for the opening spot, and that’s why Aaron Finch can’t waste that spot,” Waugh said. “I don’t see him at five, I see him opening or not in the team at all.”

Waugh said that Finch couldn’t play No. 3 either as Marsh will return to the spot he dominated from during the most recent World Cup.

However, Shane Warne however came to Finch’s defence.

“For me, I don’t think he (Finch) would be happy with how he’s hitting the ball,” Warne said. “But he’s captain of the side. I think he’d love the opportunity to defend the title here in Australia and I think he’ll be there. I think he will find enough form.”

He added he backed Finch to score big at the MCG.



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