15/04/2024

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Josh Inglis in the nets ahead of his debut. Image: cricket.com.au

Ahead of the five match T20I series against Sri Lanka, Australian captain Aaron Finch has confirmed two changes to the line-up that defeated New Zealand in the World Cup final, including an international debut for 26 year old Josh Inglis.

Ahead of the five-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, Australian captain Aaron Finch has confirmed two changes to the line-up that defeated New Zealand in the World Cup final.

Going into their first bilateral series as reigning T20 World champions, Finch believes the “pressure” is there, particularly playing in their own backyard.

“[Winning] definitely raises the pressure,” Finch said

“But when you play for Australia there’s pressure for every series and every tournament that you play.”

Ben McDermott will be making his return to the top of the batting order after a prolific BBL|11 for the Hobart Hurricanes, and after going unused throughout the World Cup, Josh Inglis has been confirmed to debut at three as a specialist batter.

Finch believes that both McDermott and Inglis have earned their opportunities through their vast body of work and talent they will bring to the side.

“[McDermott] has been in unbelievable nick,” Finch said.

“So, to get him at the top of the order has been really important for us.”  

Forcing his way back into the squad through a sheer volume of runs, McDermott was BBL11’s standout performer, averaging 48.08 with that bat, complemented by a high score of 127.

Culminating with Player of the Tournament honours, McDermott has been identified and provided with the opportunity to cement his place in Australia’s T20I side.

After travelling to the UAE with the team and going unused throughout the World Cup, tomorrow night’s opening T20I will usher in the debut of Josh Inglis.

While his BBL11 campaign was somewhat inconsistent, Finch noted that his versatility and preceding domestic campaigns will hold Inglis in good stead for his debut.

“[Josh Inglis] has been someone who has shuffled around the order a little bit,” Finch said.

“That is a sign of how well he has played over the last couple of years,

“It’s a great opportunity for him,”

With Inglis confirmed as a specialist batter that leaves Matthew Wade to continue behind the stumps, consolidating the form he had through the World Cup campaign.

“He’s [Wade] done a fantastic job through the World Cup and we see that being his role going forward,” Finch said.

Finch sees the upcoming T20I’s as vital matches ahead of the 2022 T20I World Cup later this year, allowing both the current XI and extended squad to be exposed to high-quality international cricket.

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While admitting if available, the same XI who beat New Zealand would’ve been out on the park for the first match against Sri Lanka.

“If the World Cup was starting tomorrow, I think that we would be going in with the same 11, he said.

“Guys have definitely put their hand up to be making solid claims to be pushing for spots,”

Finch believes that the changes help to “build the base of experience” throughout the whole squad, to continually have a prospering T20I line-up, once he and the current older members of the squad retire.

“Really good performance is important,” he said

“Getting them [players] enough international cricket experience to build the base of experience throughout the whole group,

“That’s really important to the side at the moment,”

Looking ahead past the first match against Sri Lanka at the SCG on Friday night, Finch believes that some tinkering and experimentation will occur with the line-up, looking to maximise on both talent and the conditions at hand.

“Yeah, we’re going to tinker around with it a little bit no doubt,” he said.

Finch confirmed that pitch and overhead conditions would play a large role in the make-up of the bowling attack chosen for the matches.

“There’s going to be different times where we play six batters and five bowlers,” he said

“Tomorrow we have gone with seven and four, same formation [as the world cup],”

Adam Zampa retains his place in the side, with his leg-spin becoming such a vital tool for Finch to call upon in times of need.

Alongside Zampa, Ashton Agar, who was unfortunate to miss out on the latter half of the World Cup campaign could yet have an important role to play in the upcoming fixtures.

“[Ashton Agar] has a really important role to play going forward,” Finch said.

The first match gets underway tomorrow with the Aussies facing a hungry Sri Lanka at the SCG under lights.

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