Australia’s T20I skipper Aaron Finch believes that the 5-0 drubbing at the hands of hosts England will not spill over into the one-off T20I they play against them on Wednesday (June 27). Australia’s T20I records sit in stark contrast to their ODI fortunes, having won their last six T20Is since last October, which include two victories over England in a tri-series also involving New Zealand. The only catch to Finch’s claims is that they will field the same squad that went through the trauma in the recently concluded ODI series.
“There’s no reason why the boys shouldn’t be confident going into this,” Finch said ahead of their Wednesday clash. “I know we’ve taken a bit of stick in the five ODIs but the boys will be quite confident in their skills and with a new format it’s a chance to start again… as a T20 team I don’t think a real lot needs to be said (to the players).
“We’ve got some fresh faces coming in to bring some new energy, guys that have got no baggage hanging over from the one-day series at all. It’s a great opportunity to get out there so quickly after the one-day series and strut our stuff in a format we’ve been really successful at recently.”
Although the squad remains the same, most of the members were recently seen in action at the IPL and are well versed with the demands of the shortest format of the game. “We’ve played really good T20 cricket over the last little while… we’ve got a pretty similar group and the guys are playing some really good cricket in that format,” Finch added. “It’s probably a format the guys have played a lot more of in the last 12 months with Big Bash and IPL and things like that. In this format we’ve had some great success recently; we’ve come from seventh in the world to second and that’s a great achievement. We’ve done that with teams that have been mixed and matched at times and we’re starting to get a bit more settled on a squad that’s going to take us forward. It’s just about trying to get some continuity over the next six games and really start to develop a core squad that we can take forward almost with one eye on the 2020 World T20 at home.”
Australia’s ODI record has been abysmal, to say the least, with them having lost more ODIs than they have won since their 2015 World Cup win at home. While the team now sets off to play the shortest format, Finch is aware that the team needs to revisit the loopholes and plan to put things in place. But for now, he’s focused on a different format and hopes to start winning with the bunch again. “The confidence in the one-dayers took a bit of a hit but I don’t think there’ll be any of that to worry about in this format. We had a debrief from the (ODI) series a couple of days ago and, not moved on as such, but we’ve put a little bit of that stuff to bed just for now. No doubt we’ll revisit it when the time is right to start learning a little bit more and start moving forward as a one-day squad.”
There have also been speculations about Finch being promoted to the leader’s position in ODIs too, but the burly opener downplayed such thoughts and mentioned that he hadn’t thought one bit about it. “Honestly, I have not thought about it one bit,” he said. “If the opportunity came up it would be an honour. I’ve lead the one-day side a couple of times before, I had the T20 role a few years back. But it’s nothing that I’ve ever thought about.
“Tim is the captain and did a great job throughout the (ODI) series. It was disappointing that we didn’t back up his leadership as well as we could have with our performance. We just let ourselves slip a couple of times.”
Glenn Maxwell is set to join the T20I squad for the Wednesday game after missing the last two ODIs owing to a shoulder injury. His inspiring training session on the eve of the match shall augur well for the team. Apart from the one-off T20I, Australia are also due to tour Zimbabwe for a tri-series involving world’s No.1 T20I side, Pakistan. However, that tour as of now is subject to safety concerns.
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