Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/1/11/renegades-hold-out-finch-hope

Renegades hold out Finch hope

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 3:57PM AEST | by James Willoughby, Omnisport

Melbourne Renegades coach Simon Helmot remains hopeful of captain Aaron Finch taking part in Tuesday's KFC T20 Big Bash League semi-final at Etihad Stadium.

The Renegades, who have won seven of their eight BBL matches this season and top the table, are likely to face the Hobart Hurricanes or the Adelaide Strikers in the sudden-death final.

Although a meeting with cross-town rivals Melbourne Stars is an outside chance too.

Finch, who is the competition's second highest run-scorer with 309 in his seven matches, missed the Renegades' 29-run win over the Sydney Sixers on Wednesday after he was called into the Australian one-day squad.

The Victorian missed out in the series opener against Sri Lanka at the MCG on Friday, scoring just 16, but he is likely to open the batting again at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

George Bailey's squad will then have four days off before taking on Sri Lanka in Brisbane next Friday and Helmot has his fingers crossed that Cricket Australia will allow Finch to play.

"The door's definitely open," Helmot said on Friday.

"It just depends on situations but we certainly hope that we have Aaron playing for us. His leadership over the competition has been fantastic and I believe that if he was able to finish the job with the Renegades it would certainly be an advantage for Aaron and also Australian cricket.

"He has really shown in (the) limited-overs format he has a real knowledge of the game. (He) is able to perform under the pressure of competition and also under the pressure of being captain. I hope that he gets the clearance."

While the inclusion of Finch would definitely be a boost for the Renegades, Englishman Alex Hales - who smashed 89 from 52 balls against the Sixers including eight maximums - is a certainty to play and will provide firepower at the top of the order.

With Hales and the consistent Ben Rohrer, who is the fourth highest run-scorer in the BBL with 253, firing, the Renegades covered the losses of Finch, the injured Marlon Samuels (fractured eye socket) and spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (rested) comfortably.

Quicks Will Sheridan, Nathan Rimmington and Darren Pattinson claimed three weeks each and the result delighted Helmot as the Renegades' depth was on display for all to see.

"(I am) pleased with our playing group," he said.

"We've shown our depth over recent times with Marlon missing out and then 'Finchy' not playing ... and then even 'Murali' not playing the last game. We have enough players who can help us out.

"We've probably been cast as the underdogs for the majority of our games (but) we haven't concerned ourselves about perceptions. It's more about making sure when it is our turn to perform as individuals (we do) ... and collectively, we get the job done."

Helmot also revealed that the eye of Samuels has opened up and that the West Indian had regained his vision.

The all-rounder - who top-edged a Lasith Malinga bouncer into his eye in Sunday's heated Melbourne derby - will not play for the Renegades again in the competition due to the injury.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 11 January, 2013 8:43PM AEST

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