Aaron Finch looms as the danger man in a star-studded Victorian side. 2012/13 was a breakout year, with the pocket-rocket starring in the shorter forms of the games for the Bushrangers, Australia and in the IPL.
The top-order batsman celebrated his first settled season with the Bushrangers in 2009/10, scoring 416 runs in the Shield, as well as 179 in the Big Bash.
His clean hitting ability became apparent, and although he was struggling to lock down a spot in the four-day side, he was shaping up as one of the best in the white ball game.
The Australian selectors liked what they were seeing, and handed the Bushranger his international T20 debut against England in 2011. Two unbeaten knocks, including a man of the match 53 at the MCG, justified his selection in the side.
It wasn’t until last season that Finch truly stamped his authority on the game. The Ryobi Cup Player of the Season started the year with a bang, belting 154 against the Bulls, before following it up with an equally impressive 140 at North Sydney Oval.
His power game made him a strike weapon at the top of the innings, with bowlers struggling to find a flaw in his game.
Finch finished the 50 over season with a whopping 504 runs.
Despite hitting 259 runs in the first instalment of the KFC T20 Big Bash League, Finch saw the 2012 campaign as a disappointment.
Twelve months later, he exploded to catapult the Melbourne Renegades to the top of the rankings.
In the season opener, he struck 111 in the Melbourne derby against the Stars. It was a calculated knock against a quality bowling attack, with Finch controlling the run chase from the outset.
His 332 runs at 66.4, as well as four catches and three wickets made him an easy choice for Player of the Tournament.
His stunning summer earned him an automatic call-up into the ODI side, but his domestic form didn’t translate to success on the international stage.
Finch averaged just 15 from his seven appearances, and was subsequently dropped for the ICC Champions Trophy.
He recently took out his frustration in the IPL, hitting a couple of half-centuries for the Pune Warriors.
There is no doubt that something has changed in the life of Aaron Finch. A newfound sense of maturity, probably stemming from his captaincy of the Renegades, has allowed him to take his game to the levels many thought he wasn’t capable of.
Consistency is now the next step if he wants to cement his spot in the Bupa Sheffield Shield side and return to the national team.