Finch urges Australia to follow England model
Australia's T20 skipper reflects on his 'absolute shocker' of a BBL campaign and looks at ways to reduce the strain of playing cricket in a bubble
Louis Cameron at the MCG
27 January 2021, 07:55 AM AEST
Aaron Finch believes England's model of squad rotation could be a blueprint for Australia, as the national limited-overs captain seizes the chance for some precious rest following an "absolute shocker" of a KFC BBL campaign.
With his first-class future clouded, Finch suggested Cricket Australia must consider how they manage multi-format players if strict bio-secure bubbles remain in place this year.
The 34-year-old is desperate for a short break after spending the majority of the last nine months in quarantine, bubbles or government-imposed lockdowns.
"My wife worked it out the other day that I’ve had 20 or 21 days since April that I haven't been in lockdown or in a bubble," said Finch, who added he is "throwing his kit bag out of the car" as he spends some time at the beach before flying to New Zealand in a fortnight for a T20 series.
Finch is regularly one of the BBL's most feared batters, but he finished the season with 179 runs at 13.76 from 13 innings as the Melbourne Renegades finished last on the standings for a second straight season.
His struggles have magnified the challenges of spending long periods of time in bio-secure bubbles.
England, who will play 15 Tests during the calendar year including tours of Sri Lanka, India and Australia for an Ashes campaign, have introduced a rotation policy that will see the likes of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes miss Test matches during that time.
Their selection chief, Ed Smith, justified the ploy for their upcoming Indian tour, saying: "We are being pragmatic, the pragmatism being if you keep people in a bubble unchanged for three months and ... expect them to play every game in every format, they will not be able to play to their best."
Finch said Australia could consider something similar if bio-secure bubbles remain necessary for international cricket.
"If you’re playing a few formats of the game, there's going to need to be a chop-out from selectors and Cricket Australia," said Finch.
"You notice what England are doing with their squads at the moment where there are guys who aren't travelling for the first two Tests (against India) and then coming in (later).
"If the COVID bubble and hubs continue for a long time, that will be something that's looked into, no doubt. The welfare of players is paramount and being locked up for months is pretty unsustainable, when you're away from your families and your families can't travel.
"That will be individual as well – some guys who are married with kids will find it tougher than a young single guy, for example. We just have to monitor everything in that regard."
The pandemic has also made it more difficult for players like Finch, who plays both limited-overs formats for Australia, to play first-class cricket.
Finch has played just four Sheffield Shield games since losing his Test spot two years ago, and none this season due last year's limited-overs tour of England, the delayed Indian Premier League that followed and then the home white-ball games against India.
Fox Sports reported last week that Finch and Glenn Maxwell are unlikely to play red-ball cricket for Victoria again. When asked about his future in the format, Finch was less definitive but conceded his Test dream is all but over.
"I wouldn't say there’s no more red-ball cricket," said Finch.
"The young Victorian kids coming through, I don't want to be standing in their way taking their spot. We've got some great young batters and with big (Australia squads) and bubbles, there's going to be more players on tour.
"I don't want to be standing in the way of these young kids when I'm not going to be playing Test cricket again."
Despite his BBL struggles, Finch's recent international form is strong, having scored 110, 64 and 75 against powerhouses India in Australia's most recent ODI series.
The fact Finch bounced back from a rough trot in the lead-in to the 2019 World Cup before hitting back and having a strong tournament will be reassuring for selectors as Australia prepare for a T20 World Cup in India later this year.
"I had an absolute shocker with the bat," the Renegades skipper conceded. "The harder I trained the worse I got, which is the opposite to what everyone tells you to do.
"It was just one of those seasons. In T20 cricket when you're looking to be aggressive, looking to take risks, it can go against you. That's OK – I can wear that."