Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Finch eager for long-awaited Test debut
In-form Victorian happy to bat anywhere if given the nod for for Tests against Pakistan
17 September 2018, 02:27 PM AEST
Aaron Finch says he won't make any radical alterations to his belligerent batting approach as the Victorian firms for a long-awaited Test debut against Pakistan next month.
No Australian without a Baggy Green has played more international cricket than Finch, who finally earned a call-up to the Test squad last week after a number of consistent years at first-class level.
His five centuries and a batting average of 47.88 in first-class cricket over the past four-and-a-half years have not grabbed the kind of attention his limited-overs exploits have.
But with Australia reeling from the loss of three key batsmen for their Qantas Tour of the United Arab Emirates to face Pakistan, Finch's form is now impossible to ignore while his experience could also prove invaluable.
He looms as the most logical option to partner Matthew Renshaw at the top of a rejigged Test batting order, but Finch says he'd slot in anywhere.
"I'd bat number 11 if I had to," he joked.
While he hadn't quite entered into a now-or-never mindset ahead of his call-up, Finch conceded he thought the window to fulfil his childhood dream would have shrunk considerably had he been overlooked for the UAE tour.
The 31-year-old admitted his heart rate "went through the roof" when selection chief Trevor Hohns delivered the good news as he was driving home from Victoria training last week.
"It was probably the time when if it didn't happen now, it was probably less likely to happen down the track," Finch said.
"It would mean a lot (to make his debut). You grow up in the backyard dreaming of playing Test cricket and getting a Baggy Green. It's closer now than it ever has been before."
Speaking to reporters in Brisbane where Australia's 15-player squad is gathered ahead of their departure for Dubai this week, Finch was careful to point out there are no guarantees over a spot in the Test XI.
The right-hander has been touted as a likely opening option, a position where he's prospered in white-ball cricket, but he noted the likes of Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Travis Head all have experience at the top in various formats.
The beginning of an innings when the ball is new and hard is often the best time to bat on low, slow and turning subcontinental pitches, which could suit the aggressive Finch to a tee.
But he stressed there may be times where he'd need to reel in those attacking instincts.
"Being aggressive has made me reasonably successful in international cricket in the two shorter formats," he explained.
"(His approach) depends on the order they see me fitting in if there's a spot in the XI. If it's at the top, it's about playing your natural game. If it's in the middle, there will be times when you come in against a lot of spin and the ball is reversing.
"Pakistan are a side that tend to bowl a lot more spin with the new ball, particularly in the second innings.
"It's just about sticking to your natural game, playing to your strengths. When that happens, you give yourself a higher chance of success.
"Playing for 10 or 12 years you build up a game plan you think works for you pretty well. It's not about going away from that because it's Test cricket or you're playing in the subcontinent - it's about just changing your mindset slightly."
As one of five uncapped players in the Test squad, the know-how Finch has acquired from a seven-year international career could be crucial as the Aussies eye a first Test series win in Asia since 2011.
"There are some guys on their first tours, which is really exciting for them," he said.
"While this is my first Test tour as well, I've been around for quite a while and probably know the demands of international cricket - not necessarily Test cricket.
"(I can be) a sounding board for some younger guys if they need a chat - wherever Tim (Paine) and JL (coach Justin Langer) think I can help out."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai
Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi