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Aaron Finch rapidly emerging as Australia’s key batsman

Aaron Finch © AFP
Aaron Finch has scored 427 runs so far in ODIs in 2014 © AFP

Australian opener Aaron Finch slammed his third One-Day International (ODI) ton in the second match of the Zimbabwe Triangular ODI series 2014 against South Africa. Devarchit Varma explains why Finch is fast emerging as one of Australia’s best batsman and why he can barge into the Test side.

In his last seven innings in ODI cricket, Aaron Finch has smashed three hundreds and a half-century. He is the highest run-getter for Australia with as many as 427 runs in seven matches in the year 2014, averaging exactly 61. In Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), Finch is the third highest run-getter in 2014 with 294 runs in nine matches, averaging above 32 with three half-centuries.

And for those who term Finch as someone who cannot play red ball cricket, he has just ended a fruitful season with Yorkshire, having scored a century and a fifty in five matches, averaging close to 49. Finch’s exploits in international cricket and the stint in County cricket proves that the right-handed dashing batsman is indeed one of the most improved cricketers in the past couple of months.

He has indeed raised hopes of Test selection with the progress and intent that he has shown, but barging into the Australian Test side which more or less looks settled for the next couple of months will be incredibly difficult.

The main reason why Finch has achieved all that he has is because of having the right attitude. Talking about his stint with Yorkshire, their coach and former Australia bowler Jason Gillespie said that it is Finch’s intent and hunger to improve that impressed him the most. Gillespie was aware of Finch’s poor record in First-Class cricket (averaging below 30), but was still sure that Finch could come good for Yorkshire.

Gillespie told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I was well aware of his First-Class record but I’d like to think that good players are adaptable. You’re not ‘that’ good a player in one-day and T20 cricket and ‘that’ bad in longer-form cricket. I just don’t buy that.”

Finch’s batting has indeed improved a great deal. At Yorkshire he batted way down the order — at No 6 — which not only gave him the experience of playing with the lower-order but also face the second new ball. That position is extremely critical because the batsmen at lower-order are expected to either accelerate or arrest a slide when needed. Finch came out with flying colours on his first County stint.

The result of his learning was visible in the second ODI of the Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014. While he started off in his trademark style of scoring quick runs, hitting a spectacular four in the first over itself, he slowed down and constructed the innings for his side when needed.

Finch can do a lot apart from scoring quick runs. It also hints that Finch is developing his skills as a batsman, as the others can build the innings around him once he drops the anchor in the middle. He faced 116 balls, cracked nine fours and a six and scored 102 against the South Africans — indeed an innings that provides assurance, and hope for the future.

Complete coverage of Zimbabwe Tri-Series 2014

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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