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India v Australia

Test cricket ‘the worst thing’ to happen to Aaron Finch, says Ian Chappell

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The poor form of Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch is “a hell of a headache” for selectors with the 2019 World Cup around the corner, former captain Ian Chappell has said.

And he pointed to Finch’s initiation in Test cricket as the point when things began to go downhill.

While the opener began his Test career well with a half-century in Dubai against Pakistan, his form petered out, he was exposed against the ball coming in, and he was dropped from the red-ball side during the India series. Worryingly for Australia in a World Cup year, the issues continued into the limited-overs assignments.

Finch, 32, marked his 100th ODI on March 2 with a duck – the latest failure in a string of poor scores. Since his Test debut in October 2018, he has averaged 11.85 in seven ODIs and 7.50 in 10 T20Is, with just three scores above 20 across limited-overs formats.

“Probably the worst thing that happened to Aaron Finch was playing Test cricket,” Chappell told Nine’s Wide World of Sports. “Certainly India worked him out in the Test matches, and that flowed on into the one-day series.

“He’s playing like a man without much confidence. You get the feeling confidence was such a huge part of his one-day batting, and I’m not sure if one score against Pakistan in the UAE is going to restore that, especially if he continues to struggle through the rest of the Indian series.”

Apart from the four remaining ODIs against India, Australia play five matches against Pakistan as part of their World Cup preparation. Chappell would rather the selectors wield the axe on Finch soon, instead of taking him to the World Cup, especially with David Warner and Steve Smith expected to return to the side. He suggested Pat Cummins as a replacement as captain.

Finch struggled in Tests after making a half-century on debut

“It’s a hell of a headache for the selectors,” Chappell said. “But you have to think about what’s worse, dropping him now or dropping him in the middle of the World Cup?”

Finch, on his part, had admitted before the India tour that he struggled to make the switch between formats, and said a break would help him put the most difficult six months behind him. He has also received the strong backing of his coach, Justin Langer.

“He’s such a good player, such a good person, captain of the team, we know he’ll come good,” Langer said. “We’ve just got to keep giving him plenty of care and support. Another important part about leadership is that he’s really consistent. We haven’t see any real change in his personality or his attitude around the group, so that’s a real credit to him. That’s why he is the captain of the team.”

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