Gillette ODI Series v India

Aussies target middle overs for ODI gains

Australia captain Aaron Finch says home side must improve its cricket between the powerplays to improve scoring and results

Sam Ferris at the SCG

11 January 2019, 01:33 PM AEST

Aussies to don some classic retro gear

It might be considered the dull period of one-day cricket but the middle overs of the 50-over format are where Australia must sharpen up if they are to reverse their recent poor ODI record.

That's the message from Australia's ODI skipper Aaron Finch, who is in charge of a team that has lost 18 of their past 21 completed matches.

"It hasn't been a secret that through those middle overs, it's been a part of the innings where we've probably lost that one or two wickets too many, which when you go into the back 10 overs, you're really stretching yourself when you got the bowlers effectively batting at that point," Finch said in Sydney today. 

"We feel as though if we can keep some wickets in hand and really load up with some batters and power at the back end of the innings, that'll give us a bit more oomph going into that last 10 overs.

Finch continued: "Wickets through the middle as well. I think if you look at stats around the world, the majority of teams' powerplays are pretty similar, the majority of teams back 10 overs are pretty similar as well.

"So it's just those middle overs, which obviously 30 overs is a long part of the game, but getting that a little bit better a little bit more often."

Finch today unveiled a new-look top seven that will hope to combat their middle-overs woes.

Opening that batting alongside Finch is gloveman Alex Carey, who bats at the top of the order for South Australia in 50-over cricket and with the Adelaide Strikers in the KFC BBL.

Moving Carey up the order pushes Test opener Usman Khawaja to No.3, with veteran left-hander Shaun Marsh to second-drop.

Peter Handscomb, who is set to play the anchor role in the innings, comes next and is followed by power-hitters Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.

But the batting order is by no means set in stone, with Finch suggesting Maxwell could drift up the order depending on the match situation.

"'Maxi' has floated throughout the order throughout his career," Finch said.

"When we saw him at his absolute best was during the 2015 World Cup when he was used as a floater when we had that powerplay with three fielders out, so there’s still a lot of scope for him to float up and down the order as the game situation changes.

"I think with the idea to have Pete (Handscomb) at No.5 is to have a really good player of spin and a guy who can potentially bat through the innings, that type of solid player in the middle and let the guys play around him."

Australia: Finch (c), Carey (wk) Khawaja, S Marsh, Handscomb, Stoinis, Maxwell, Lyon, Siddle, Richardson, Behrendorff

Gillette ODI Series v India

Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj

First ODI: January 12, SCG (D/N)

Second ODI: January 15, Adelaide Oval (D/N)

Third ODI: January 18, MCG (D/N)