JLT Sheffield Shield 2017-18

Finch still dreams of Baggy Green

Having dominated the world of white-ball cricket, Victorian says Test cricket remains his number one goal

Andrew Ramsey

02 March 2018, 09:30 PM

Australia limited-overs veteran Aaron Finch believes his dream of one day earning a Baggy Green Cap remains alive even though he has long been regarded a specialist whose skills are largely restricted to the white-ball format.

While conceding that ambition remains "a long way off" with a number of rival batters as well or better placed should a Test vacancy arise, Finch's recent red-ball form has bolstered his case to be considered.

More specifically, the unbeaten 151 he clubbed for Victoria in this week's thumping JLT Sheffield Shield victory over Western Australia - the highest score he's posted in his Shield career - helped to quieten suggestions his brute-force game is suitable only for cricket’s short form.

Finch hammers 151no from 122 balls in Perth

The 31-year-old has played 88 one-day internationals for Australia and was part of their 2015 World Cup triumph on home soil, and has also appeared in 36 T20 internationals including nine as national captain.

But he has managed just 51 Shield appearances for Victoria since making his first-class debut a decade ago, with a perception lingering for a number of years that the aggressive manner in which he flayed the white ball was susceptible when more attacking fields were employed in the four-day arena.

That belief is perhaps backed up by a Shield record that revealed a batting average of barely 30 and just two centuries – both of them scores of 102 – prior to this week’s dominant knock that came off 122 balls faced with 16 boundaries and seven sixes at the WACA Ground.

Finch notes that his inability to convert solid starts into daunting scores – his Shield record shows he reached 50 on 20 occasions for just three innings in excess of 100 – has not helped his aspiration for Test honour.

But he feels that his most recent knock might represent a new beginning.

"I need to keep making more hundreds," Finch told cricket.com.au on Friday ahead of Victoria's Sheffield Shield match against arch-foe New South Wales that begins at the newly refurbished Junction Oval on Saturday.

"I’ve made quite a few fifties over the last couple of years, and sixties and seventies but not really gone on to get the big match-winning hundred.

Finch seals the win with consecutive sixes

"So hopefully this week in Perth was a bit of a turning point.

"My number one ambition is to play Test cricket.

"Having represented Australia around 120, 130 times in the other two formats it would be nice to contribute to that in the Tests.

"It’s still a long way off, there’s a lot of good players in front of me at the moment.

"But I can just keep trying to put some scores on the board and see how we go from there."

Finch, whose Shield average for the current season now stands at 46.50, claims that his naturally attacking mode of batting likely helps him make a smoother transition from the shorter formats to the red-ball game at this time of the summer.

However, he maintains that despite his performances in the recent Gillette T20 tri-series against New Zealand and England that Australia completed unbeaten immediately prior to the Shield campaign resuming, he was not in "T20 mode" when he went to the wicket in Perth this week.

Although he does admit to taking significant satisfaction from the hefty six he clubbed over long-on from the bowling of his national T20 teammate Ashton Agar early in his innings, which paved the way for Victoria’s 255-run win.

Finch launches Agar into the stands

The right-hander said his decision to take to the WA bowlers from the moment he arrived at the crease in the Bushrangers' second innings had more to do with the game situation and the struggle that other batters had found against the Dukes ball than any pre-ordained attack plan.

"The ball was swinging quite a bit, it was seaming and there was a couple of big cracks (in the pitch) so I took the positive approach and it seemed to pay off," he said.

"Me being an attacking player, it doesn’t change a helluva lot (from one format to the next).

"You probably just tone down the risk that you take a little bit, you tend to manage that risk a little bit more.

"You might hit the ball along the ground a bit more, but all in all the fundamentals of the game are still the same.

"You’re trying to score runs, and that’s all I try and do."