Qantas Tour of the West Indies
Brilliant Warner ready to lead: Finch
Australia's deputy more than capable of filling Smith's shoes when needed, says opening partner
Martin Smith in Georgetown, Guyana
2 June 2016, 09:13 AM AEST
Aaron Finch says long-time opening partner David Warner is ready to step up and take on the captaincy of the Australian team.
Warner arrived here in the Guyanese capital Georgetown on Wednesday morning, a day later than his teammates after he led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden Indian Premier League title last weekend.
Not only did Warner's leadership and on-field tactics impress during his time in India, he also scored 848 runs for the tournament, including a match-winning 93no in the elimination final and 69 in the final.
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Already Australia's vice-captain, Warner is two-and-a-half years older than current skipper Steve Smith, who has been near flawless in his short leadership career so far and who took over from Finch as T20 captain earlier this year to add to his leadership of the Test and ODI sides.
Former Test skippers Ricky Ponting and Ian Chappell have both expressed their concerns about Smith's workload as captain in all three formats and Finch says Warner is ready to stand in for the current skipper should he be needed.
"Absolutely," Finch said after Australia's first training session of this Qantas Tour of the West Indies was cancelled due to persistent rain in Georgetown on Wednesday.
"I think a part of that is having confidence in your own game but also having the confidence of your teammates in your own game as well, that you're almost the number one picked player.
"And (Warner is) certainly that, along with Steve. They've been exceptional for a long time now and as captain and vice-captain they've done a fantastic job.
"I think if something did happen and (Warner) had to take over, he'd do an amazing job as well."
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Smith has lost just nine of his 34 matches as captain since he first led the side in December 2014, and is yet to lose a match in 11 Tests as skipper.
But Ponting, who captained Australia in all three formats for four years before handing the T20 leadership to Michael Clarke, said in February that personal experience told him Smith would burn out if he continued to captain and play all three forms.
And Chappell told News Ltd this week that Smith will conclude "probably sooner rather than later" that captaining all three sides is too big a task.
With the next World T20 almost four years away, the captaincy of the T20 side is the obvious role for Warner to take on should Smith and Cricket Australia agree that the current skipper's workload is too great.
Finch, whose Gujarat Lions were on the receiving end of Warner's 58-ball innings of 93no in last Friday's qualifier in Delhi, says the left-hander's attacking instincts make him perfectly suited to captaincy in 20-over cricket.
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"To lead the Sunrisers to the title I think shows how much he loved the responsibility of captaining," Finch said.
"He led from the front with the bat, in the field he led from the front and I think as a captain he was someone who captained the way that he plays. He always took the aggressive option, he never backed down.
"They didn't start off the tournament overly well but I think he stuck to his guns, stuck to what he believed was right and they got the job done.
"It's all about backing your ability and backing what you think is the right thing at the right time and he certainly did that.
"The way he dominated the tournament with the bat, but also winning close games in finals shows a lot of character from a team and a leader, so he was outstanding."
Finch says Warner's transformation from cricketing bad boy – he was sanctioned in 2013 for a Twitter controversy with two Australian journalists and again after a physical altercation with England batsman Joe Root – to mature leader comes down to family.
"I think having three girls at home would settle down anyone, wouldn't it?," Finch said in reference to Warner's wife Candice and the couple's two young daughters.
"The way he's matured with his family, Candice has had a lot to do with that.
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"He's someone who's changed his lifestyle, changed everything to make the most of the talent and the career that he had laid out in front of him.
"Credit to him, the way he's played in the past two years of Test cricket, one-day cricket and T20 has been unbelievable.
"He's probably been the form player in the world over the past two years. So credit to him and his family."