Fit Finch explains ‘adaptable’ Smith and Maxwell’s T20 World Cup roles
Finch was at one stage in doubt for the tournament at all after requiring an operation on a knee injury sustained in July, but the skipper is now preparing to play in Australia’s first warm-up match on 18 October.
“Originally it was touch and go to be available for the two warm-up games but at the moment it looks like there’ll be no problems so looking forward to getting out and back into it,” Finch said on Thursday at the ICC captain’s call.
Partnering Finch at the top of the order will David Warner and the Australians are in no doubt over the veteran’s spot in the side despite his lean second half to the Indian Premier League season.
“Over the years we’ve seen when he’s got his back against the wall he’s a fighter. I’ve got no issues with the preparation he’s had,” Finch said.
“He’s come here in great spirits, he’s come here with a great attitude and that’s rubbing off on the boys. He’s organising things behind the scenes, he’s doing everything that he loves to do. I’ve got no issues and come game one he’ll be ready to go.”
What’s less certain is the make-up of Australia’s middle order and Finch says that is by design.
With Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and wicket-keeper Matthew Wade all in the mix for selection and all capable of batting from No.3 to No.8, Finch says the Australians will be flexible through the middle overs throughout the tournament.
That will be particularly pertinent for Maxwell and Smith, who Finch sees as key men.
“The role of our middle order (batters) will all be really flexible,” Finch said, when asked of Maxwell’s spot in the XI. “It’ll be at some point through the middle overs no doubt. He’s a beautiful striker of the ball, and he is someone who can change momentum of the game really quickly.
“On wickets that potentially could be a little bit wearing that can be a huge asset. He’ll be adaptable in that middle order. He’ll be in that top handful, no doubt.”
On Smith, he added: “Similarly to Maxi, he’s someone who can be really adaptable through those middle-overs.
“He provides us with a lot of options and a lot of flexibility. He’s someone who can really go about T20 cricket a little bit different to your general guys who stand there and try and clear the rope.
“He’s someone who can manipulate the ball to different areas and get a really similar result and sometimes an even better result just by doing it a little bit of a different way which is always handy to have those combinations through the middle.”
Alongside all-rounders Marsh and Stoinis, Australia will have the services of gun quicks Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Kane Richardson, as well as the spin trio of Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson.
With Agar also able to serve a role as a bowling all-rounder, Australia will have plenty of options as to how they structure their XI.
With that in mind, Finch expects decisions over the final XI for each match to be left late.
“There’s no one right or wrong way to go about it at this stage. That’s something we’re going to have to assess early on in a competition, the day before a game, try and best get a read on the wicket and make an educated guess that way.
“It’s nice that we’ve got a lot of options there that we can structure up the side with seven batters or six batters or a handful of all-rounders. It’s an exciting time.
“Having all-rounders in your squad just gives you plenty of options with the ball, especially on wickets that might provide a bit of spin and a little bit of assistance to medium, medium-fast bowlers as well.”
Australia begin their T20 World Cup campaign on 23 October against South Africa.