Red-hot T20 blaster Aaron Finch close to Test selection, feels Darren Lehmann

Australia s T20I captain and ODI vice-captain Aaron Finch is close to earning a maiden Test call-up, feels former Australia batsman and coach Darren Lehmann. Finch, 31, has scored 4957 runs for Australia in limited-overs cricket without earning a Baggy Green, which stands as the record for most international runs scored without playing Test cricket.

Finch s international white-ball form has been excellent in 2018: 900 runs in 17 internationals, at an average of 69.23 and strike-rate of 132.15. In ODIs this year he has hit three centuries, while in T20Is he has a world record 172 and two fifties. Playing T20s for Surrey in England currently, Finch has slammed 462 runs in six innings at an astonishing strike-rate of 192.50, with scores of 131* and 117* the highlights. His latest century came yesterday as Surrey beat Middlesex by nine wickets in the London Derby.

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Lehmann, who was head coach of Australia from 2013 until this March when he stood down following the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa, said Finch was a “really good chance” to be selected for Australia s Test series against Pakistan in the UAE in October.

“He can play Test cricket, there s no doubt about that,” Lehmann told the Geelong Advertiser. “He s confident in the way he plays spin bowling, he can take an attack on, and leading into this Pakistan series he s a really good chance to be selected for that one.

He was always knocking on the door, but he just hadn t made runs consistently. But his last couple of Shield years have been pretty good. If you take a look at his numbers, they re right up there. He probably could ve made a few more hundreds and pushed his case even further but he s one player we talked about quite a lot. He s close, and when I was coach, he was close. He s probably closer now.”

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With Steve Smith and David Warner serving 12-month suspensions and Cameron Bancroft out for nine months, there are three possible spots open in Australia’s Test squad to tour the UAE. Finch s first-class form for Victoria over the last three domestic seasons has been decent – 1278 runs in 19 matches for an average of 41.22 – and last month he admitted that it was his inconsistency that had so far kept him out of Test cricket.

“I ve got myself to blame for that. When I was younger I had an opportunity to really push my case for a few years, he said. “I had probably 18 to 24 months of really lean four-day or any red-ball cricket to be honest. I was playing good white-ball cricket for Australia and couldn t get the runs on the board in red-ball cricket.”