Following his retirement from international cricket, Australian T20I captain Aaron Finch said that there are “plenty of guys” who can fill his shoes as a captain and an opener for Australia in the shorter format of the game.
On Tuesday, Finch called time on his stunning international career that included leading Australia to their first ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy.
Australia’s next T20I assignment is not until coming August in South Africa. The series will start the build-up for the ICC T20 World Cup in West Indies and the United States, which will take place in June next year.
The swashbuckling opener suggested that Adelaide Strikers skipper Travis Head, who replaced him as an opener in ODIs following his retirement and Big Bash League (BBL) winning Perth Scorchers skipper Ashton Turner could succeed him as a captain as “they know how to win”.
Finch would prefer a white-ball specialist to take the T20I team forward.
“There is plenty of guys who can do it. Obviously, Steve Smith has done it before and done a great job, Pat Cummins, I doubt whether he would want to do it with such a big workload. But there are guys from the outside who could come in and have a big impact,” said Finch as quoted by cricket.com.au.
“Travis Head, Ashton Turner, these types of guys are experienced, they know how to win as well, so whichever way they go, the team is in great hands. I probably lean towards a white-ball player more than anything. To be able to focus on two formats as opposed to three I think will be important,” added Finch.
The 36-year-old also pointed out that there is no shortage when it comes to T20I openers either.
“There are a few guys that are putting their hand up. Obviously Travis Head, Matt Short has done brilliantly well the last couple of years and capped it off with the Big Bash Player of the Year.”
“Steve Smith… his form is pretty good at the moment as well, he could certainly do it. There are guys all around the place … Josh Inglis, he has had a chance at the top of the order for Perth and now he has slotted in the middle order, so he is adaptable.
“Josh Philippe, Ben McDermott, there are a lot of guys that could do it, so I think it will come down to whoever gets the first opportunity. If they take that, I think they could be away,” concluded Finch.
Notably, Short was the BBL ‘Player of the Series’. In the recently-concluded edition of the tournament, he scored 458 runs in 14 innings at an average of 35.23, with one century and two half-centuries. He also picked up 11 wickets in the tournament.
Finch led Australia in a world record 76 men’s T20Is, as well as in 55 ODIs, before announcing his retirement on Tuesday. The long-term white-ball skipper represented Australia in 254 international matches across all formats, playing five Tests, 146 ODIs and 103 T20Is.
The 36-year-old saw the pinnacle of achievement when playing for Australia in the 2015 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and in 2021 as captain of the T20 World Cup squad.
“Realising that I won’t be playing on until the next T20 World Cup in 2024, now is the right moment to step down and give the team time to plan and build towards that event,” ICC quoted Finch as saying at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
“I also want to say a huge thank you to all the fans who have supported me throughout my international career,” he added.
Since making his international debut in a T20I against England in January 2011, Finch amassed 8,804 international runs which include 17 ODI centuries and two T20I tons. This also includes 5,406 ODI runs and 278 Test runs.
Finch was a great T20 batter. At the international level, he scored 3,120 in 103 matches at an average of 34.28, with two centuries and 19 half-centuries.
His overall T20 statistics truly showcase his gigantic status in the format. He played 382 matches and scored 11,392 runs in 376 innings at an average of 33.80. Finch has eight tons and 77 fifties in the format, with a best score of 172. His strike rate is 138.53.
When he slammed 172 runs off just 76 balls against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2018, he set the record for the highest T20I score. His amazing innings featured 10 sixes and 16 fours.
Finch’s 156 from 63 balls against England in Southampton in 2013 remains the third-highest men’s T20I score ever.
Finch ended his ODI career in September of last year, but he continued to captain Australia in T20s, notably during their disappointing home defence of the T20 World Cup.
In that competition, the right-hander played his final international game and top-scored with 63 as Australia defeated Ireland by 42 runs, but they were unable to go to the semi-finals. Throughout much of his time playing at the highest level, Finch was a white-ball cricket superstar. In 2020, he was nominated for the ICC Men’s T20I Cricketer of the Decade award. (ANI)