Combinations key to T20 World Cup title defence: Finch
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Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch (left) and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell
Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch (left) and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell

AUSTRALIA captain Aaron Finch says the reigning T20 world champions won’t be pigeonholed into a certain team structure as they look to ensure they have plenty of options should something not go to plan during next month’s World Cup.

Finch’s side ramp up their preparations for their T20 World Cup title defence on home soil today when their three-match tour of India gets underway in Mohali.

And he said they would take the local conditions into account when selecting their team during the whirlwind six-day tour despite the stark contrast in the conditions in India and those that await during the World Cup in Australia.

“Every decision that we make has one eye towards the World Cup and seeing the wicket yesterday it looked like there was quite a bit of grass on it,” the 35-year-old told reporters from Mohali on Monday.

“We know in Mohali the ball can swing around and it can carry through quite a bit.

“We’ll be mindful of not being too narrow minded in terms of our focus – what we’ve tried to do over the last eight to 10 months is to make sure everything we’re doing in the T20 space ties back to the World Cup

“For us, it’s about making sure once we get there that we’ve had plenty of different combinations of teams that we can play because the last thing that you want is have an injury derail your whole campaign because you’re pigeonholed into playing one style of cricket or one structure of team.

“There will be a little bit of mixing and matching but still with that one eye towards the World Cup to make sure we’re still as rounded as we can be as a squad.”

The tour is almost certain to include a highly anticipated Australia debut for middle-order power-hitter Tim David with Marcus Stoinis ruled out of the three T20Is with a side injury, while Finch flagged Steve Smith would return to the No.3 in the absence of Mitch Marsh with a minor ankle injuries

There is also a vacancy at the top of the order alongside the skipper with David Warner rested, while Test captain Pat Cummins returns to national duties after sitting out of Australia’s recent one-day international series victories against New Zealand and Zimbabwe and veteran white-ball quick Kane Richardson looks set to retain his spot with Mitchell Starc also nursing a knee injury.

David, who played 14 T20 internationals for Singapore between July 2019 and March 2020, has forced his way into Australia’s World Cup squad through dominant performances in domestic T20 leagues including the BBL and Indian Premier League as well as England’s Hundred and T20 Blast, Pakistan and Caribbean leagues.

The 26-year-old, who has hit the most sixes in T20 cricket this year with 79, has impressed Finch and national selectors with his power, along with his consistency in the tough five, six and seven ‘finishing’ role.

“We’re not going to ask him to do anything he’s never done before,” Finch said.

“We back his skill set, we back what he brings to the table and we back that his best is well and truly good enough for international cricket.

“Tim’s been super impressive for a long period of time in T20 cricket now, he’s someone who we know has got the power, he’s shown that all around the world wherever he’s played

“The fact he’s come into the squad with such a great attitude, he’s been training brilliantly, he’s a really good all-round package with his ability to bowl a few overs, very good in the field, so we’re excited with what he brings to the squad.”

Green, who is not in the T20 World Cup squad but was called up for the Indian tour with Warner rested, also appears likely to play just his second T20 international due to the absences of allrounders Marsh and Stoinis.

Green impressed in the 50-over series against New Zealand and Zimbabwe, which included a match-winning 89 not out in the series opener with the Black Caps, and if selected during the T20 tour it will be the 23-year-old’s first time playing in India

Finch said Green had “all the tricks and the game sense” to be a successful three format player for Australia.

“Cameron’s been really impressive, every level he’s played in he’s continued to improve,” Finch said.

“The thing I love most about him is how quick he adapts and learns from the very minimal mistakes that he makes.”(Cricket.com.au).

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