Opening the batting in T20 cricket has been the norm for Australian white-ball Captain Aaron Finch but he concedes that he could well bat in the middle order if required.
After dropping down the order number three with relative success in Tuesday night’s series clinching win against Sri Lanka in Canberra, the strategy for the series against Sri Lanka has been with the World Cup in focus whether that be for Aaron Finch’s benefit or not. He also concedes that he has not got a lock on his regular opening position with dropping down the order to as low as number five on the cards.
“I’m pretty flexible about where I can bat in the order, so it was a no brainer for me further down, it isn’t something that is going to consume myself with personally,” Finch said.
With Finch performing at three (35 runs off 36 balls) and opening (25 runs off 20 balls), he is confident in his game to be able to perform for his team at a top or middle order role.
With the number of opening options in the squad, It means there are spots at the top of the order up for grabs. BBL|11 player of the tournament Ben McDermott is opening this series while the likes of Josh Inglis, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell all open the batting on occasion for their respective Big Bash franchises.
Also to be factored in ahead of the World Cup is the return to of David Warner and Mitchell Marsh, both rested for this series to the national T20 squad.
Finch talked the media through the options ahead of the selection committee.
“I think Mitch Marsh did a pretty amazing job at three during the World Cup and throughout the West Indies and Bangladesh as well, so again we are trying a few different things,” he said.
“We felt as though Benny McDermott had a really good start at the top of the order, so we wanted to keep giving him enough opportunity to keep growing in his confidence and it’s a spot he’s had a lot of success within the big bash.
“We saw Josh Inglis get the job done again, batting at number five after coming in and doing really well at three, we’re just trying to create as many opportunities and create as much information for ourselves as we can.”
Inglis has been selected as a batter only in this series. The Perth Scorchers wicket-keeper/ batter was given a debut in the first T20 of the Sri Lankan series and top-scored in his second game in the green and gold.
In his third game, Inglis was moved from coming in at three to five to accommodate the shuffle that saw Ashton Agar opening the batting with McDermott, Finch move to three, and Glenn Maxwell to four. He also thrived in those conditions batting through to the end of the innings.
“With Josh Inglis going from 3 to 5 we felt as though that was just something that we can experiment with a little bit, he’s such a flexible player,” Finch said.
“We’ve seen him dominate at the top of the order and in the middle order for Perth and that was something he was really open to and really comfortable doing.”
Finch also indicated that the rotation of bowlers was also in line with their thinking about the upcoming tour to Pakistan. Having been away from home for long periods of time, the Australian big three of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazelwood have to be given time at home and time to rest before jetting off with the rest of the touring squad.
Pat Cummins was rested during the third T20 game of this series, giving South Australian quick Kane Richardson a chance to plead his case. Josh Hazelwood was played throughout the entire series thus far to help him to continue to get into form before the World Cup.
“Starc and Cummins have had a huge workload on the back of the World Cup and then a five test match ashes series and Josh coming back off a bit of injury and all of them going to Pakistan shortly,” Finch said.
“We felt as though that it was really important for them to be able to stay at home and get out of a bubble for a day or two and just connect with family and friends.
“No doubt Jhye Richardson will come in tomorrow for one of those quicks and probably Adam Zampa.”
The fourth T20 game against Sri Lanka will be played in Melbourne on Friday with the series to wrap up on Sunday afternoon where Australia will look to whitewash the series.
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