Aaron Finch Australia England 2018 Justin Langer Kane Jhye Richardson
Aaron Finch bats in the Sussex match Getty Images

Aaron Finch believes a new-look Australia have everything to gain and little to lose when they face 2019 World Cup hosts England in an upcoming ODI series. Finch made a solid 78 as Australia were forced to work hard before beating Sussex by 57 runs in their tour opener at Hove, one of two warm-up fixtures before the reigning world champions face England in a 5-match ODI contest that gets underway at The Oval on Wednesday.

The Sussex match was Australia’s first as a national team since a controversial tour of South Africa, which ended with a 1-3 Test series loss. More significant, however, was the ball-tampering scandal during the third Test in Cape Town. Former Australia captain Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner received year-long bans for their roles in one of Australian cricket’s most humiliating episodes, while Cameron Bancroft, who applied sandpaper to the ball in a clear breach of cricket’s rulebook, was suspended for nine months.

In addition to Smith and Warner, Australia have arrived in England without their injured frontline fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, as well as sidelined all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.

“There’s a lot of excitement around, any time you bring young guys into the squad for their first or second tour, it brings a lot of energy around the group,” Finch told reporters at Lord’s on Friday ahead of their warm-up match at the ‘home of cricket’ against Middlesex on Saturday.

Australia won the 2015 World Cup final but it is England who are now number one in the ODI standings. In contrast, Australia have lost their last three bilateral ODI series against New Zealand, India and England as well as suffering an early exit from last year’s 50-over Champions Trophy ODI tournament.

But Finch, a veteran of 88 ODIs and now vice-captain to Tim Paine, believes the injection of fresh talent such as bowlers Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson can only do Australia good ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

“Our one-day cricket hadn’t been that great over the last 18 months to two years, so who knows, if we give these young guys a few opportunities, they can do some wonderful things,” Finch explained.

Finch added that while Justin Langer, on his first tour as Australia coach, may have been all smiles as he joked about being “sledged” by his daughter at Lord’s earlier this week, he was not a man to be crossed. “You don’t want to be in his glare!”, said Finch. “I’ve been there before, not on this tour. There were some easy comments you could make to him when he was coach of Western Australia. It was easy to wind him up.

Former coach Darren Lehmann resigned in South Africa. Finch said: “We’ve had a lot of success with [Lehmann] as an Australian coach, and JL I’ve no doubt will have a lot of success. With Perth, he’s done some wonderful things. And at the end of the day, whoever is coach of the side has the opportunity to mould the culture the way they want it.”

Australia were on the receiving end of some mild verbal jibes from the crowd at Hove relating to the ball-tampering scandal and Finch said the squad were prepared for more of the same while they were in England: “I think anytime you are touring you’re going to cop some great banter. The chants and the songs and the stick that they give us is all in good fun, but you’re going to keep copping it if you don’t interact with them, if you don’t get on board with them and have some fun. It’s a part of playing over here, you expect that, and it’s all in good jest most of the time.”