Aussie legends Mark Waugh, Kerry O’Keeffe and Adam Gilchrist think if T20 captain Aaron Finch can’t turn around his form, as he failed to do at ODI level, then he may be on the chopping block for the World Cup.
It is worth noting that Finch has already been named as the captain of the squad for its World Cup defence beginning in October, but that’s not enough for the Fox Cricket commentators.
His last three scores in the series win in Sri Lanka weren’t especially bad, producing 61*, 24 and 29.
But the fears remain as in front of the white ball as a whole; he has struggled, ultimately leading to his recent ODI retirement.
“Any player, even if you’re captain, is in the team to do a job and he’s in the team to bat,” Mark Waugh said.
“Opening the batting is an important position in white ball cricket and the Australian way is that we always pick our best team then the captain after that.
“So he can’t just rely on his captaincy in my opinion. He’s got to make runs and he’ll feel better if he does that anyway.”
O’Keeffe echoed much the same sentiment.
“He’s been in these troughs before and he’s come out of them and that’s what Australia’s hoping for,” O’Keefe said.
“The signs are that this is a deep trough, but the team needs him to come out of it because he’s the captain.
“The pressure will intensify in this first game if (New Zealand fast bowler) Trent Boult peels back his stumps in the first game because it can put pressure on the middle order.
“If Australia was to lose that first game and Finchy fails again, it will intensify.”
There’s still plenty of cricket before the World Cup starts, with nine warm-up matches scheduled on home soil and abroad, so there’s still time for Finch to find his form.
However, should he be dropped, his vice-captain Pat Cummins would almost certainly take the reigns, potentially seeing the fast bowler lead Australia at all three levels of cricket.
Former Australian wicket Keeper Adam Gilchrist also weighed in, backing the skipper to be picked at the start of the World Cup but leaving things open as to what could happen from there.
“He certainly starts the tournament, no doubt about that,” Gilchrist said.
“And I guess they’ll just manage it from there. If he and the selectors feel that it’s proving to be a handbrake or an issue for the team in tournament play, I’m sure they’ll just monitor it and see.
“But I would have no hesitation in starting with him and I think the freedom in his mind, if nothing else now will allow his qualities to shine through.”
Finch captained Australia to our first-ever T20 World Cup just last year, and it would be a shock to see him miss out on selection as we attempt to become the first country to go back to back.