The Boxing Day Test against India in 2018 was Aaron Finch’s last, but the 32-year-old is still hopeful of returning to the Australian side this Summer.
Finch scored just 97 runs at an average of 16.16 during the series against India, before being dropped ahead of the Fourth Test in favour of Marnus Labuschagne.
However, Finch has been motivated by the success of former Victoria teammate Matthew Wade, who scored two centuries in the recent Ashes series as a specialist middle-order batsman.
Although Australia managed to retain the Ashes following their 2-2 series draw with England, the floundering top order was cause for concern with David Warner, Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft struggling against the English attack.
Finch is expecting the line up in the middle order for Victoria during the Sheffield Shield, but should he earn another Australian call-up, would be happy to bat anywhere.
“We haven’t spoken about that just yet,” Finch said on SEN when asked where he would fit into Victoria’s plans going into the Shield season.
“There’s a lot of quality players in Victoria at the moment, so getting a game might be the first start.
“I think middle-order will probably be my preferred spot. I know doing the opening duties last summer was one of first times I’d really done it in the longer format, but you take any opportunity you can when you play for Australia.”
Victoria are scheduled to play four Shield matches before the First Test against Pakistan, starting on November 21 at the Gabba. However, with Australia set to play six T20 Internationals against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the build-up, Finch will miss at least one Shield hit-out.
Finch is aware that his window of opportunity at Test level is running out, but believes he still has one last shot at making the side.
“For me personally, it’s about probably having one really good crack at trying to get back to the Test team again,” Finch said.
“The young guys who came in and did well throughout the back half of last summer did a really good job. I still think that I’ve got one really good crack at it left in me.
“Obviously (I’ll) just try and get some runs, get some big runs there. That’s my plan.”
The right-hander is well aware of the promising crop of young batsmen coming through, including Kurtis Patterson, Travis Head and Will Pucovski, and understands it will be difficult to force his way back into contention.
“If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I’m comfortable with that.
“It will be nice to play a few Shield games in a row to be fair. It’s been a while since I’ve played more than one in a row.”
Finch spoke in glowing terms about former teammate Wade, whose Shield form was too impressive to ignore, chalking up 1021 runs at 60.05 last season.
“I think the way Wadey’s come back over the last couple of years in particular, to be able to go out there and be at peace with your own game, be at peace with yourself,” Finch said.
“To be able to then play your best cricket under pressure in the Ashes, I think it’s a credit to himself, but also the hard work he’s done on his technique and the coaches down at Tassie have done a fantastic job.”
Finch himself has scored seven Shield centuries and averaged 35.90 from 84 first-class matches. His Victorian team will kickoff their Shield season against South Australia on October 10.