Finch’s phenomenal form has him primed to fly into Test side

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Last night, Aaron Finch pushed his case to be considered the best Twenty20 batsman of all time, as he blasted a world record 172 to lead Australia to a commanding 100-run win over Zimbabwe in Harare.

    The highest ever T20 score by a non-Australian is 125* by the West Indian Evin Lewis, yet Finch now has scores of 172 and 156* in that format.

    The new Australian captain’s career T20 record of 1530 runs at an average of 48, with a strike rate of 162 is arguably even better than that of Indian megastar Virat Kohli – widely considered the GOAT batsman in T20s – whose stats read 1992 runs at an average of 48, with a strike rate of 137.

    Finch’s incredible rate of scoring is what sets him apart from the other leading batsmen.

    Among the top 20 run scorers in the format, the next highest strike rate is 143, by the West Indian Chris Gayle, who still lags miles behind Finch’s mark of 162.

    Finch doesn’t just beat up on lesser teams either, he has a career average of 57 against the other four nations currently ranked in the top five – India, England, New Zealand and Pakistan.

    The 31-year-old was at his brutal best in Harare last night, leaving the Zimbabwe attack clueless as to how to halt the carnage. What made Finch’s monumental innings even more remarkable was that the pitch was by no means a road, with the ball regularly holding up in the surface.

    At the other end, Finch’s opening partner, D’Arcy Short, struggled for timing against both pace and spin, making 46 from 42 balls.

    Finch’s innings became comical after a period as he found the boundary when completely out of position and off balance.

    Even when reaching for the ball, seemingly about to fall over, Finch not only managed to find the middle of the bat but also the gaps in the field.

    Australian batsman Aaron Finch walks after he is bowled by New Zealand’s Tim Southee

    (AP Photo Ross Setford)

    It seemed that at some point surely he would mishit one to a fielder on the boundary, but that moment never came, no matter how hard the Zimbabweans wished.

    In the end, it took the rarest of dismissal forms to end the show. It was a bizarre end to bizarre innings as Finch toppled over while trying to cut a wide delivery from Blessing Muzarabani, only to be out hit wicket.

    Finch’s innings continued his mind-boggling form, having smashed 398 T20 runs at an average of 199, all at a scorching strike rate of 219.

    To get a sense of just how crazy that strike rate is, consider that it translates to a run rate of 13.1 runs per over.

    As I predicted five weeks ago, Finch could use the limited-overs tours of England and Zimbabwe to potentially become a dark horse for Australia’s next Test series – a tour of the UAE against Pakistan in October.

    With scores of 172, 68*, 84, 22 and 100 in his last five knocks, Finch is putting together the kind of scintillating limited overs form which has previously springboarded players into the Test team.

    With Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft unavailable for selection, don’t be surprised if Finch makes the squad.

    For the moment though he’ll be focused on leading Australia to a win in this ongoing tri-series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

    With two wins from two games, Australia already have one foot in the final and will likely face world number one-ranked Pakistan in that decider.

    Aside from Finch’s ballistic form, the Aussies will also be pleased with what they’ve seen from their bowlers.

    Quicks Billy Stanlake, Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye have all been impressive, young spinner Ashton Agar has been extremely frugal, and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has done a great job with his medium pace.

    They combined to bowl out Pakistan for 116 on Monday, before restricting Zimbabwe to 9-129 yesterday.

    Australia should now take great confidence into their final two matches of the group stage, against Pakistan tomorrow and Zimbabwe on Friday.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (101)

    • July 4th 2018 @ 8:40am
      Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      Good performance. Great batting by Aaron Finch. The real glory, however, lies in winning test matches. Need to build a strong test team. We also need to take minnows like zimbabwe out, players just bolster their averages from these matches. On Finch’s test inclusion surely Ronan your favortism for him gone too far now, we don’t pick test players based on T20 form just like we don’t pick T20 players based on shield or test form. For me there is too much worthless t20s these days . ODI cricket would have been better. Also short dissapointing again playing so slow against a easy bowling attack, selfish batting

      • Columnist

        July 4th 2018 @ 12:49pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        5 years ago I wrote this piece about Finch’s Test ambitions:

        https://www.theroar.com.au/2013/10/18/finch-a-long-way-from-a-test-player/

        It’s interesting to go through the comments on that piece and see which Roarers are still with us five years later – Chris Kettlewell and DingoGray are still going strong!

        • July 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm
          Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

          Amazing work chris and dingo

        • July 4th 2018 @ 6:10pm
          BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

          Finch Sheffield Shield cricket between 2011 and 2014, where in three seasons he scored 511 runs at 16.48. This is the reason why he can’t overleap Renshaw, burns or maxwell

          • July 4th 2018 @ 6:45pm
            Tony H said | July 4th 2018 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

            Come on Nudge! 4 year old stats are what keeps a current form player out of a team?

            • July 4th 2018 @ 8:14pm
              PeteB said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

              Yeah averages from 4 to 7 years ago are totally irrelevant

          • Roar Rookie

            July 6th 2018 @ 7:47am
            Roger said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

            Nudge, Brains Trust? Have you also highjacked BurgyGreen?

        • Roar Guru

          July 7th 2018 @ 7:33pm
          DingoGray said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

          5 years on and nothing much has changed….

          Aaron Finch is still a great T20 / ODI player….

          Yet still can’t be even close to being selected in longer formats.

          At times in the last two years has missed selection for Victoria in Shield Cricket.

          Let’s enjoy Finch innings for what it was…. but it’s no sure thing for Test side.

          With Smith and Warner out gives us the chance to try some need blood… finch is no answer to our current situation in the Test venue

    • Roar Pro

      July 4th 2018 @ 8:47am
      mrrexdog said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      The expected top 6 for the test series vs Pakistan would probably be:

      Renshaw
      S.Marsh
      Khawaja
      Handscomb
      Maxwell
      M.Marsh

      The big question is who goes as the reserve batsman.

      The 2 most obvious options would be, Head or Ferguson, I think Ferguson has line through his name seeing as he wasn’t picked in the Australia A squad.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Finch in the test squad, but they should pick him for the Australia A squad and see how he does first.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 8:48am
        BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        I agree with top 6 here, but ridiculous to pick finch based on T20 form for test. Burns head and Fergie all deserve to be selected ahead of him based on long form

        • July 4th 2018 @ 10:29am
          jameswm said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          I’d go

          Renshaw
          Burns
          Khawaja
          SMarsh
          Maxwell
          MMarsh

          no Handscomb

          • Columnist

            July 4th 2018 @ 11:15am
            Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            Handscomb showed some great signs in the Tests in Asia last year – he averaged 34 across his six Tests, which is a solid return given that was a low-scoring run of Tests where hardly anyone from any of the sides involved averaged over 40.

            An average of 34 in that run of Tests on spinning Asian decks is equivalent to averaging 50-55 in a home Test summer on absolute roads.

            • July 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm
              Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

              I like Handscombe, long term player he is

            • July 6th 2018 @ 7:53am
              George said | July 6th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

              Played one good innings, pointed to Boof in the dressing room, sledged England, boasted about it, technique laughable, gave Bancroft instructions.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 8:52am
        jimbo said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        kurtis patterson??

        id have him over head anyday… he’s going over to india as well

        • July 4th 2018 @ 11:03am
          jameswm said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          So would I. Not sure how Patterson is against spin in tough conditions, but he can’t be worse than Head. But Maxwell deserves the chance over both of them – look at the FC runs over the last 2-3 years.

        • Columnist

          July 4th 2018 @ 11:19am
          Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          In the past three years Patterson has made 2,324 runs at 46 in first-class cricket – that’s a great record for a young guy.

          • July 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm
            Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

            Pattinson is a good allrounder, hope injury treat him well as good talent there

      • July 4th 2018 @ 9:17am
        Paul said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        and Handscomb and Maxwell would be picked why? Their outstanding recent batting form at first class level?

        • July 4th 2018 @ 10:36am
          Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Complete breakdown of system if we pick guys for test by T20 stats, thats injustice to burns, renshaw, ferguson, Pattinson who have shield runs which is focus for test cricket. ODI runs maybe for selection but not hit and giggle T20 cricket.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 11:04am
          jameswm said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          Over the last 2-3 years Maxwell’s FC record is good.

        • Columnist

          July 4th 2018 @ 11:20am
          Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Paul what would be your top six for the Tests against Pakistan then?

          • July 4th 2018 @ 2:20pm
            Paul said | July 4th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            I’d try some experiments

            Renshaw
            Burns
            Khawaja
            Finch
            SMarsh
            Head/Ferguson

            The top 3 should bat as named in order but the others need to be used flexibly depending on the circumstances of the game. If we’re two down for not many, Marsh comes in, if we’re two down for lots, I’d like to see Finch at least come in or maybe Head.

            • July 4th 2018 @ 3:27pm
              Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

              I like thinking paul, good suggestions on top order and flexibility

            • Columnist

              July 4th 2018 @ 3:32pm
              Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

              Head has improved a lot of an FC batsman in the past two years but I still think he’s extremely vulnerable starting against spin, as we’ve seen in ODIs where he’s been great opening but has struggled in the middle order where he has to start against spin.

              Against spin Head makes the same mistakes the Aussie batsmen made when they were humiliated in the Tests Sri Lanka two years ago – he plays with hard hands and he plants his front very early, creating a target for spin bowlers and forcing him to reach around that pad to get at straight deliveries.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 5:54pm
                Paul said | July 4th 2018 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

                Ronan, there compelling reasons to pick none of these guys.

                Head’s issue playing with hard hands can be trained out of him. If that’s the only reason for not picking him, he deserves a run. I don’t think he can do much worse than some of the other guys who are supposedly good players of spin. I’m very sure he won’t chuck his wicket away playing a “Maxwell” shot, for example.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 7:38pm
                Ben said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

                When was the last time Maxwell three his wicket away?
                Maxwell first class average is over 40.
                Head is no way ahead of Maxwell.

        • Roar Pro

          July 5th 2018 @ 7:17pm
          Barry & Zac said | July 5th 2018 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

          yes, that exactly. You just hate them cos they are Vics.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 4th 2018 @ 10:03am
        Bretto said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Looks like a horribly weak top 6. The could be more collapses than Neymar.

      • Columnist

        July 4th 2018 @ 11:00am
        Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        Ferguson unfortunately seems destined to only ever play one Test and to never again be considered for ODIs.

        The Australia A tour of India next month will probably have a major influence on Test selections for the tour against Pakistan with the likes of Khawaja, Handscomb, Head and Patterson all playing in India.

        • Roar Guru

          July 4th 2018 @ 4:25pm
          Matt H said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          But not Maxwell or Burns, which seems crazy.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 12:03pm
        Brian said | July 4th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

        What has Head done to deserve to be the apparent next big thing when it comes to Aus batting? His FC average is shocking to say the least.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 3:27pm
          Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

          Nothing is the answer, not a fan of Head yet

        • July 4th 2018 @ 4:39pm
          Dexter The Hamster said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

          Almost as bad as Finch’s……

    • July 4th 2018 @ 8:47am
      BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Credit goes to finch for this knock. I’m sure if it was Kohli or root who score that score against Zimbabwe everyone will be saying well done great job and not mentioning bout Zimbabwe being a minnow but because he is a aussie people try to put it down. Well done Finch. However to pick test players based on good form for T20 is just laughable. Also did Darcy short know it was a T20, khawaja would do better. On funny note at least aaron finch can beat teams. Don’t know about Australia though 🙂

      • July 4th 2018 @ 10:40am
        Nudge said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        You need to get a new name Stephen. Try and think of something yourself. Most people know that the real nudge thinks Khawaja is a bit of a sook.😊
        My team would be
        Khawaja (get him in early when the ball isn’t spinning)
        Renshaw
        S.Marsh
        Handscomb
        Maxwell
        M.Marsh
        Paine
        Does anyone know if Hazlewood Starc and Cummins will be available?

        • July 4th 2018 @ 10:53am
          BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

          I am confused, who is stephen, are you referring to stephen vagg. Any reason for the hostility here, just tyring to give me 2 cents on the topic

          • July 4th 2018 @ 11:06am
            jameswm said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            You picked a user name that someone else already uses?

            Nudge (the original from SA) – I’d rather have Burns opening and Khawaja 3 than SMarsh/Handsomb at 3/4. Not sure about Marsh coming in that early. And not sure on Handscomb period. He makes me very worried and I don’t think he deserves it on form.

            I think the top 6 I mentioned is the logical one, even if it leaves out Handscomb who is considered right in the mix.

          • Columnist

            July 4th 2018 @ 11:08am
            Ronan O'Connell said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            Don’t worry Nudge this impostor is about to be nuked. There’s no tolerance here for people impersonating other Roarers.

            As far as I know Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins are all expected to be ready for the Pakistan Tests – they have another 3 months to rest up before that series starts.

            But I’d imagine only two of those three will play in the UAE, with Australia playing two spinners – Lyon and Agar.

            • July 4th 2018 @ 11:20am
              BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

              Utterly confused about the tension here, let me change the name as there is no intention to mimic any fellow roarer here. And Ronan best if you take some criticism for your articles mate rather then just expecting agreements on everything. Yes Finch is in great T20 form, yes he is the best T20 batsman in the country but your blanket love for finch in every article is a little disappointing too. Frankly your journallsm is becoming very biased towards finch or any WA player

              • July 4th 2018 @ 1:25pm
                George said | July 4th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Nudge giving it back to Ronan 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                July 4th 2018 @ 4:29pm
                Matt H said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

                You are a long term commenter on Ronan articles and you always talk up Khawaja and criticise Ronan about Finch. And you regularly change your name. If you really are a new “nudge” with no history, who has only been commenting since June 2018, then how would you know about any blanket love from Ronan for Finch or any WA player?

              • July 4th 2018 @ 4:58pm
                BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

                Because you only have to go through Ronan’s articles from the last few months to see he literally talks up finch in every article

            • July 4th 2018 @ 11:24am
              Nudge said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

              Thanks Ronan
              James, I’d go with Handscomb just because he’s a good player of spin. Good between the wickets and a good fielder. I think he can really play, just needs to work out his game. Hopefully he has done that during the break

              • July 4th 2018 @ 1:07pm
                jameswm said | July 4th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

                I haven’t given up on him. He’s supposed to be a good player of spin but I’m not convinced.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 3:28pm
                Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Predicting big season for handscombe

      • July 4th 2018 @ 11:12am
        George said | July 4th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        On the contrary, I think if a non-Aussie flayed Zimbabwe, Roarers would diminish the achievement.

    • July 4th 2018 @ 9:23am
      Paul said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

      Great knock from Finch but two things hurt his chances of a Test recall – prejudice by selectors against choosing players for Tests based on T20 form and a lack of first class runs in long form cricket recently.

      Personally, I’d throw him in, if for no other reason that as support for Paine on what could be a tough tour. Finch and Kahwaja could act as vice captains, managing the players off the field, allowing Paine to focus solely on the games.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 10:37am
        Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Khawaja and mitch marsh good enough vice captains, don’t need finch for that reason.

        • July 4th 2018 @ 2:26pm
          Paul said | July 4th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

          so you’d include a bloke who’s played 28 Tests and averages 27.85, first of all to play and second to be vice captain? People in these positions are leaders and they must set an example by consistently scoring runs and lots of them or doing something constructive with the ball. At this level, M Marsh does neither consistently

          • July 4th 2018 @ 3:28pm
            Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            Mitch Marsh is natural leader, he will be our next flintoff or even better, you watch

          • Roar Guru

            July 4th 2018 @ 4:30pm
            Matt H said | July 4th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

            To be fair Marsh improved out of sight last summer, so his career average is less relevant.

            • Roar Pro

              July 4th 2018 @ 7:10pm
              mrrexdog said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

              Mitch cashed in against a weak English bowling attack in easy conditions, he only averaged 22 in South Africa

            • July 4th 2018 @ 7:36pm
              Don Freo said | July 4th 2018 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

              And he bowls better than Finch. Some folk seem to expect more from Marsh than they would from others.

              Why not mention Hazlewood’s batting?

              • Roar Pro

                July 4th 2018 @ 8:23pm
                mrrexdog said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

                Hazlewood isn’t a top 6 batsman, Marsh is.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 8:31pm
                Don Freo said | July 4th 2018 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

                Seems like you are deliberately ignoring the obvious point.

              • Roar Pro

                July 4th 2018 @ 9:26pm
                mrrexdog said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                All I want is Australia’s best 6 batsman batting in the top 6.

                Mitch wouldn’t be in Australia’s best 10 batsman.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 9:41pm
                Don Freo said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

                5 specialists is all you need. The next 3 will be about balance in both batting and bowling. If 5 batsmen stuff up, the 6th may not be the issue.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 9:43pm
                Don Freo said | July 4th 2018 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                Indeed, Mitch may not be in our best 20 batsmen. That’s not the criterion for his selection.

              • Roar Pro

                July 4th 2018 @ 10:05pm
                mrrexdog said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

                But Marsh doesn’t add a lot with the ball either, since being recalled he’s taken 4 wickets at 75, would Maxwell or Renshaw be any less effective?

                Besides Marsh has had plenty of injury issues which have prevented him from bowlers. I read that he Marsh wouldn’t be fit enough to bowl in the upcoming Australia A series. If he isn’t bowling, then by the selectors logic, he shouldn’t be in the side.

              • July 4th 2018 @ 10:14pm
                Don Freo said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

                If you are measuring Marsh’s worth with the ball on figures alone, you have not yet grasped how cricket operates as a team game.

                He has a role and has been excellent with his contributions with the ball. Hazlewood, Cummins, Starc and Lyon can operate as they do because they have Marsh to give them a chop out without releasing pressure as a part timer does.

                In the same way it is up to the first 5 to score runs, it is up to the specialist bowlers to return the bowling figures. The all-rounder’s role is to support in both areas. He does, however, have the ability to excel in either field from time to time.

                Thus endeth the lesson.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 2:21pm
                TheCunningLinguistic said | July 5th 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                Thanks Don. Seems many still don’t get it. To add, Marsh is also a natural leader, which increases his value even more. He is still young, he will be a great leader and match winner for Australia.

              • Roar Pro

                July 4th 2018 @ 10:27pm
                mrrexdog said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

                Then why not pick Maxwell as the all rounder? You get a handy 5th bowling option as well as a decent top 6 batsman.

              • July 5th 2018 @ 4:15pm
                Don Freo said | July 5th 2018 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                Maxwell’s pace bowling is not good enough.

      • July 4th 2018 @ 10:58am
        BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Still don’t understand why was he sent down the order against England. He is in such good form, could have done better against england as he would have avoided his weakness in spin

    • July 4th 2018 @ 10:58am
      BrainsTrust said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      Still don’t understand why was he sent down the order against England. He is in such good form, could have done better against england as he would have avoided his weakness in spin.

    • July 4th 2018 @ 10:59am
      George said | July 4th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Imagine if Khawaja had amazing form…

      • July 4th 2018 @ 1:57pm
        Christo the Daddyo said | July 4th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        No need to imagine of course…

        • July 4th 2018 @ 3:29pm
          Krishna Singh said | July 4th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          Khawaja in great form, big season from him predicted too

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