Aussies confident on Finch despite Marsh Cup absence

By ScoreLine Desk - October 25, 2019

Adelaide: Justin Langer is confident Australia will not have to blood a new captain to start the men’s international summer despite Aaron Finch again being sidelined from domestic duties on Wednesday due to injury.

Finch is under a cloud for Sunday’s first T20 INTL against Sri Lanka having been left out of Victoria’s Marsh One-Day Cup side to face Western Australia on Wednesday as he recovers from a minor side injury.

Cricket Victoria insist his absence is only precautionary and Langer, who caught up with Finch in Perth last week, labelled the injury as “minor”.

Alex Carey and Pat Cummins have been named as co vice-captains in Australia’s 14-man squad but Langer, who is presently one of only two national selectors as well as the head coach in all formats, did not reveal who would step in should Finch miss the first T20 in Adelaide.

“I’m hopeful,” Langer told SEN when asked whether the 32-year-old would be fit to play. “These things have a way of working themselves out.

“Hopefully we don’t have to worry about it. We’ve got two vice captains in Alex Carey and Pat Cummins if we need someone to fill in for Finchy.

“But it’s a pretty minor injury, so he should be fine.”

Langer also mentioned Steve Smith’s name when asked about the captaincy following recent speculation over whether he will eventually return to the role, but the former skipper is not permitted to hold a leadership position until March when his sanctions from the Cape Town scandal lapse.

Cricket Australia’s board would have to approve the appointment of either Carey or Cummins to the captaincy should Finch not be available.

Langer said he spoke with Finch during Victoria’s Marsh Sheffield Shield game against WA in Perth last week as the pair plot a path towards next year’s T20 World Cup.

“He’s developing all the time,” Langer said. “I thought his captaincy in the one-day World Cup was fantastic and he’s getting better all the time.

“We know how dynamic he is at the top of the order. Fingers crossed he’ll be right to go on Sunday.”

Of the 14-man T20I squad, Billy Stanlake – who bowled 24.5 overs in Queensland’s recent Sheffield Shield match against NSW and has a history of injuries – was the only other player to miss Wednesday’s Marsh Cup round.

In a positive sign for the Aussies, Ashton Turner was picked to make his return from a broken finger as took over the captaincy reins for WA’s game against Victoria at the WACA.

Langer has vowed to put an increased emphasis on T20 cricket and is eager to ensure top players are more often available in the lead-in to next year’s World Cup on home soil.

“Statistically you’d say that (Australia have underachieved), but I just wonder how focused they’ve been on it in the past,” said Langer, who led the Perth Scorchers to three KFC Big Bash titles during his tenure in WA.

“We all want the best team. You have to manage the players to make sure you get the best players on the park.

“We probably haven’t done that in T20s in the past purely because were trying to manage players through playing all forms of the game.

“If we get a really solid squad of white-ball cricketers and a solid Test squad – there will be a few crossovers – if we get that and get really clear on what we’re trying to achieve, hopefully we’ll get positive results.”

Gillette T20 Internationals v Sri Lanka

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha.

First T20: October 27, Adelaide Oval, 2pm

Second T20: October 30, Gabba, 6.10pm

Third T20: November 1, MCG, 7.10pm

By ScoreLine Desk

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