Tim Paine’s leadership was second to none: Aaron Finch

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MELBOURNE: Aaron Finch was one of the better performers for Australia in what was a largely forgettable tour of England, reported ICC. 

Australia were first swept 5-0 in the one-day international series and then lost the one-off Twenty20 International by 28 runs at Edgbaston on Wednesday, 27 June, despite Finch’s 41-ball 84 in a chase of 222. Finch had earlier scored a century in the fourth ODI.

Finch led Australia in the T20I while serving as vice-captain in the ODIs to Tim Paine, who got the top job following the suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner.

Paine did his job well behind the stumps, but poor results coupled with the fact that his top score in the ODI series was 15 might lead to a change, and Finch is happy to fill in even though he lauded the current captain for doing a stellar job.

“If the role is there, I’d love to do it,” Finch told Sky Sports after the T20I. “At the moment, Tim is the captain and he led the team fantastically well. It was disappointing that we couldn’t back him up with performances as a team. His leadership around the group was second to none. If he’s got the job, things are going to be good for Australia.”

Justin Langer, also new at his job as the head coach, also hinted that there might be a rethink on the ODI captaincy.

“One of our huge priorities is to make sure we get the leadership and the captaincy right,” Langer told SEN Radio. “No doubt Tim has had a tough time here. He’s done a brilliant job since South Africa in steadying the ship. He’s an outstanding young man.

“He’s also tough. You saw him get hit in the face in the second game, he had stitches all in his face, it’s reminiscent to me of a lot of the great Australian captains.

“We’ve got to work out whether he’s going to play his best cricket in white-ball cricket and if he does he’s a chance, and if he doesn’t then we’ll probably have to look somewhere else. We’ll have a really close look at a whole number of things when we get back from England and Zimbabwe next week and we’ll move from there.”

It was an inexperienced Australian team that went to England, missing Smith and Warner as well as Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, all of them nursing injuries.

Their performances might not have been up there, but Finch feels that the youngsters have learnt their lessons well.

“It’s been a really good learning curve for some of the young guys, especially coming off a bit of a break,” he said. “We’ve had four months since the end of the season back home, so for them to walk straight back in and perform against the best in the world, you can’t come in one per cent off the boil.

“They will learn a lot about their preparation, you have to hit the ground running otherwise it’s a long road.”