Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Opening batsman Aaron Finch has established himself as a regular face in Australia’s limited overs squads, but there is one goal on his career checklist that has still yet to be ticked off.
In the upcoming three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka later this month, Finch will surpass David Hussey’s record of 108 combined ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals to become the most capped international player not to have played a Test match for Australia.
Even though he has tried time and time again to break into Test team, Finch has always come up short. Despite this, he still harbours hope that his dream of playing Test cricket will become a reality, especially as he has been averaging 54.53 in first-class cricket in the last three years. Prior to that his average stood at a disappointing 27.47.
Speaking about how he turned his fortunes around in first-class cricket, Finch told ESPNcricinfo: “I think it was a combination of a few things. There were a couple of small technical flaws – at the time I was batting at No.3 for Victoria – that probably got exposed a little bit more with the moving red ball compared to the white ball that swings for a handful of overs. As an opening batter in the shorter form, your job is to go out there and try and make a real statement early on in the game. That risk-reward is slightly more in your favour in the shorter forms.
“I missed out a few times and started to doubt my technique, and then I started to doubt my ability, and then I got into a real bad case – my self-talk was all negative. It was almost as if I was walking out there to bat just hoping to do well, and if I got any runs it was almost a surprise, because I’d just talked myself out of it before I started. It wasn’t until I thought, ‘you know what, this is doing nothing for your career’.
“I wasn’t very happy, to be honest. I always had the shits because I wasn’t getting runs, but I wasn’t helping myself in any way, shape or form at the same time to do anything about it. That was a combination of a bit of technique and a real mental battle that I was having with my game, and also with myself. It’s something over time that I’ve learnt to deal with.”
Having scored 102 for Victoria in his last Sheffield Shield game prior to Christmas and followed that up with scores of 49 and 71 against South Australia last week, Finch admitted that he is determined to maintain his momentum in first-class cricket following the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.
“It’s always good when you get a good run of four-day cricket in a row,” Finch said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have that in England the last three years. I really enjoyed being able to prepare in blocks, whether it be for three or four games in a row. I just feel like I hadn’t had that opportunity in Australia – through my own fault as well, through not making enough runs to warrant being picked every time.
“But I’m really excited about four-day cricket. I still want to play Test cricket – that’s why I choose to go to the UK and play some county cricket instead of taking on the T20 circuit. I still want to play Test cricket … I think having a little bit of consistency with where I’ve batted has helped. I think I’ve batted four, five and six with Victoria, Yorkshire and Surrey.
“That’s a place I enjoy batting – in the middle order in the longer form. I’m comfortable mentally and technically with where my game’s at, which makes you walk out into the middle a bit more excited, a bit more upbeat about what’s going to happen. Whether you get runs or not, that’s a different story.”