Health of world cricket is most important right now: Aaron Finch

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30 Jun 2020 | 11:32 AM
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Health of world cricket is most important right now: Aaron Finch

The Australian ODI captain was taking questions from the press in an online interview arranged by Cricket Australia

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Aaron Finch who a couple of days back said that he was plotting on how his side can win the next two World Cups in India (2021 and 2023), took time off to have an online interaction organised by Cricket Australia. Finch spoke on a number of topics. Here are excerpts from the interview.

On what he's been told regarding the schedule

It’s a little bit up in the air to be honest, just with how quickly everything is changing in Australia. Obviously in Victoria we are sort of going to the other way again. We've had a little bit of an outbreak. We’re not exactly sure when our next game is going to be. In our mind we were planning for Zimbabwe, we were planning for England, and all going well, and that England tour I think that was our next game, wasn't it? That’s what we are planning for. As a player, I know that in my mind, I am preparing to go to England and play, whether that happens we will wait and see. We just have to be really conscious of being ultra flexible in this. There might be a tour that comes up at relatively short notice because we can get there, and that would be brilliant. Whatever it takes. I think all the players are in the same boat, Cricket Australia, the ACA, whatever we have to do to get a game up and going that is in the best interest of world cricket we’ll be looking to do that.

On information about a biosecure bubble if a tour goes ahead

I don't have any info to be honest. I've seen what I've read in the press and that's about being locked down as a group and if it's in England, say Southampton, you go there and play a couple of games. But I've honestly only seen what I've read in the media. That's all I can go by as well. I know Cricket Australia are doing everything to make sure that we're as informed as possible but it's just really hard at times with how quick things are changing.

On the importance of the England vs West Indies series

Yeah, I think that's really important. Just having world cricket up and running again regardless of who is playing. We have seen the impact of just having live sport back for people to view - whether it's been AFL, NRL, golf. I know that I've loved just having live sport back to watch. Yes, it has its huge challenges with international teams obviously going into different environments and different risk countries. It’s going to be a big series for a lot of things and hopefully everything goes well touch wood. That's what we all want. We just want cricket to be back up and running.

On planning for a World Cup and if you can just wing it in a World Cup year

I think it's tough if you just go in there and wing it. I think you have to do a lot of planning and preparation. Not so much for the game day-to-day, but the preparation that goes into the planning of how you're going to play, what the trend of the game is going to be for you to be successful. It's easy to just turn up and play a game and hope for the best but if you can start to get a really structured plan in how you think the game is going to be in three years time or two-and-a-half - whenever that 2023 World Cup is, talking about the 50-over format more than the 20-over. But I think it's just really important that you have a clear structure and a kind of blueprint that you can fall back on. That helps a lot with how you pick your team, the personnel that you've got. All in all, it's so important to have that down packed. We probably left it a little bit too late last time. There was obviously Justin (Langer) come in quite late in the four-year cycle and we gave a really good fist of it. We're really determined to be ultra well-planned in this one and make sure that we're leaving no stone unturned in where we think the game is heading, where we need to go, strengths, weaknesses, what we can do to make sure that we're in the best place and we've got the best opportunity to win that World Cup.

There is so much talk about the IND-AUS rivalry, with regards to Test cricket mainly. How is that edge when it comes to white-ball cricket?

They are two very successful countries, two countries that are very passionate about cricket as well and the performance of their teams. It's hard to compare because one is the traditional game, Test cricket and the grind over five days wherever it is, whether it is in Australia or India, that mental battle day to day. I think the one-day game is a little bit more a skill base just on the day, obviously. If a couple players in your team have a day out, that goes a long way in winning the game but the rivalry is definitely there 100 percent. It is not a case of being any less important or being taken any less lightly because it is a one-day or a T20 or a Test match.

On the postponement of the Zimbabwe series, now that you have got a situation where ODIs and Test series are both in league structures, does that make you as a player and captain more eager to see that postponed series when it's going to be played?

It just comes down to being really flexible and just doing what is needed for World cricket to be back up and running and for all countries to be thriving and having the best opportunity to be successful. If you start looking at it as to why we need to play against a certain opposition or something like that for your own betterment, I think that is when a lot of things can fall down. Especially in the really short term, we just have to be focussed on making sure that world cricket is up and running and as many countries as possible are in a great state to be competing. I don't think the be all and end all is where you're finishing rankings for a World Cup or anything like that. I just think that the health of world cricket is the most important and whatever that looks like, it is going to be flexible, it's going to change on its head quite quickly. There will be some teams that probably have a tougher challenge to get where they need to be but I think that's all going to be, over the next 10 years, it won’t be a big issue. We just have to get back to playing and making sure that we as players are doing whatever we can to make sure that cricket is as healthy as it can be. 

There is obviously a lot of planning going around the Big Bash. What do you think needs to change to get more of the best players in the Australian white-ball teams playing in the Big Bash?

That's the balance, isn't it, trying to manage the Big Bash schedule with the international schedule. The guys playing across three formats, it is so tough. For you to try and find time for Smith, Warner, Cummins, Starc, even Josh Hazlewood...to find time for them to have enough break to mentally refresh so that they are at their absolute best when they are playing for Australia is so important. Finding that balance of the schedule and having been in one or two of the schedules, the smallest change has a huge impact down the line, the whole way. That is something I didn't understand until I was in these meetings. You talk about pushing a Shield game forward one day or back a day but then the role on impact of that is so huge down the line. It's so hard and I don't have the answer for you on that one mate. Obviously having everyone available for the entire tournament would be the ultimate goal but having guys mentally fresh, physically fresh, being able to have enough time to recover and get away from the game in between packed international schedules is as important in my opinion. If you are depriving Steve Smith of two extra years of his career because he is literally playing or training every day then I think we are all going to be worse off as cricket lovers in the end. Finding that delicate balance is the most important thing.

Where do you stand on County cricket now?

I think County cricket is brilliant. I have loved my six years at Yorkshire and Surrey for totally different reasons in different Counties. What's brilliant about County cricket is the amount of cricket that you play. Day in day out you are either training or playing so I feel as though for young players and I know I started when I was 27 at my first year at Yorkshire, I felt my development went up really quickly because I was just playing a lot more than what we do in Australia. Obviously with more teams, more games, I think it is brilliant. Everyone that you speak to, who has had the opportunity to play County cricket has loved every bit of it. I am a huge fan of County cricket and State cricket. As soon as it is all up and running again, I would love to be back at Surrey, no doubt. 

Any other Counties other than Surrey you want to give a try?

I love Surrey. I loved my time at Yorkshire under Dizzy (Jason Gillespie) and Martyn Moxon but Surrey, they are a class outfit. Under (Michael) di Venuto and now Vikram (Solanki) taking over as head coach and (Alec Stewart) Stewie there doing the Director of Cricket, it is a great place to be. Batting at The Oval is not the worst thing in the world either. As an opening batsman in white-ball cricket, there are not too many better wickets in the world.

A lot of stuff going on in sport at the moment. There's the political protests and staff and Windies wearing the 'Black Lives Matter' logo. Any thoughts about that?

We haven't talked about it as a group, to be honest. We haven't caught up as a main group for about three weeks on a group conference call. I think that's going to be playing out over the next week. So there'll be more discussion and that'll come up, no doubt. It's obviously been a huge issue and whatever way that we can support it, is important, there's equality in everything, not just sport. And we're in a world where we probably get a little bit more exposure than a lot of other people. So I think that stand, that's going be an important one. It's obviously been a huge topic recently in Australia and worldwide. So there will be something, no doubt.

You mentioned at the World Cup about planning, do you have any sort of names of the young players that are currently outside. The one-day squad that you'd like to see sort of ushered in the next twelve months, just to sort of expose them to the international level. Is there any guy that sort of stands out for you who could play a role in the next World Cup?

That's what we're going to work out over the next month or so sitting down. I'm really drilling into numbers how we feel as though the game is going to head over the next couple of years. What we need to do as a team. So there's obviously a lot of youngsters around who have performed really well. Look at Cameron Green. Painey was talking about him last week and his rise and dominance that he's had in state cricket over the last 12 months in particular. He is such a young guy and I think that potential is huge. Then you got young batters as Josh Philippe and these guys. I think what's really important about them or Josh in particular is he dominated a Big Bash final. It is great when young players perform well in big games, it shows there is a real something about them as well as the natural flair and talent that he's got. 

But then you've got other guys that I can't wait to see back up and firing, Jhye Richardson, he is an exciting young fast bowler there is going around when he's firing and having his shoulder re-done again, I think will be a good thing for him in the long run. It probably doesn't feel like it. You're going through all your rehab again. But, yeah, there are guys like that. They just bring an excitement factor to the team or to the game. I mean, you turn on the TV to watch guys take the game on and bowl fast and swing it. There's a lot of players that we'll talk about and go through and sort of map out our plan to 2023 for that 50-over one. And I was probably slightly different to the T20. We've had a bit more of a settled side over the last probably 18 months or two years in that space. And a really probably consistent style that we've played. So that makes it a little bit clearer with where we're going. And we're honestly, we're building up to October-November when the T20 is planned, whether that goes ahead, well obviously, we'll have to wait and see over the next couple of weeks or a couple of months. But we've already done all that planning and we feel as though we're in a pretty good spacing in that format. 

How do you think the new ICC rules might change the shorter format games? 

I don't think that will have a huge impact on one-day cricket match. I mean, with two new balls, the balls generally swing for an over or two at either end in one-day cricket and then there's not a huge amount of reverse, because the ball stays quite new. I don't think that in One-Day cricket and T20 cricket that will have a huge amount of an effect. I think the Test cricket, on the other hand, I think will. In Test cricket there has to be some way to get that balance between bat and ball right? If the ball isn't swinging and seaming it'll become a pretty batter-dominated game. Whether its spin, swing or seam, it doesn't matter - as long as that contest is there. It's important to try and find what is right to get that balance really even. But not so much in one-day cricket. I don't think that there'll be much of a difference in that regard. 

Ben Stokes is going to be captain of England for the first Test. Any tips that you'd give a player such as Ben, who is quite an emotional type player.

He's been in leadership roles for a while. He's a great player and has got the respect of their group, I know that for sure. He'll do it his own way ... And I wish Joe all the best with the birth of his child. I mean, that's exciting as well. So, yeah, he'll be fine. He's a great player. People do it very different ways. Wherever you go around the world, every captain is different. He'll find what works for him.

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