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Finch is the Man to Captain Australia at World Cup - Ponting

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: March 14, 2019, 4:12 PM IST
Finch is the Man to Captain Australia at World Cup - Ponting

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Former captain Ricky Ponting has backed Aaron Finch to continue leading the Australian One-Day International unit in the upcoming World Cup despite an indifferent form with the bat over the last 12 months.

"He's been Australia's best performed one-day batsman in the last couple of seasons. He's made more hundreds than anybody else," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"Although he's recently gone through a real tough time, if he can get through the other side of that before the World Cup, it could be - as hard as it sounds on him - it almost could be perfect timing. He’d rather be going through that now than going through that at the start of the World Cup and having your captain completely out of form going through an entire World Cup."

Down 2-0 in the five-match series, Finch led Australia to a remarkable 3-2 win against India last evening in Delhi. While his captaincy skills have impressed one and all, his form with the bat where he has just managed one half-century in the last 13 ODIs is what has raised questions over his inclusion in the side.

Ponting, the most successful captain in World Cup history, however, is certain Finch has done enough to be leading Australia in the upcoming quadrennial event.

"His captaincy, from what I’ve seen in the last few months even though he hasn't been batting that well, has looked really sharp and he’s going to have a great squad of players," said Ponting.

"He’s the man, for me, to captain Australia throughout hopefully a successful World Cup campaign."

Finch has had a roller-coaster in the last few months. He made his Test debut against Pakistan in October and started off well with scores of 62 & 39 but his form has nosedived since. He eventually lost his Test spot and the failures affected his ODI batting as well where he was constantly troubled by the incoming deliveries. It led former Australian captain Ian Chappell to say that playing Test cricket was "probably the worst thing" that could have happened to Finch.

With Steve Smith and David Warner primed to make a comeback in the World Cup squad and the likes of Ashton Turner, Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb all doing remarkably well in the recently-concluded ODI series, the sword is likely to hang over Finch's head.

But Ponting said that he was really impressed with tactical nous of Finch and that he was confident the opener will shed the poor run of scores sooner rather than later and "start making big runs again at the top of the order."

"Tactically what I’ve seen, he’s looked sharp," Ponting remarked. "It’s always a challenge (for) the captain, if you're not going well yourself, to not let anybody know that it's affecting you.

"It always affects you as a player when you're having a bad trot, but the best leaders that I’ve ever seen have been the guys that haven't got too high when they’ve been going too well, and haven't got too low when they've been going poorly.

"They're pretty neutral sort of people, have been the best leaders in business or sports that I’ve seen and that'll be something that Finchy probably does have to learn a little bit about. I'm sure he's learning a lot about himself every day.

"But I'm also pretty aware that he will know that he's got all of his mates behind him, wanting him to do really well and wanting him to start making big runs again at the top of the order."
First Published: March 14, 2019, 4:09 PM IST
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