‘A pretty cool journey’: Retiring Finch has message for selectors

As Aaron Finch strolled from the MCG for the last time with an official Cricket Australia polo on, he and wife Amy, and their baby daughter, Esther, turned and admired the MCG scoreboard.

“Thanks Finchy,” the image, complete with the batsman’s typically bearded face, said.

Aaron Finch with wife Amy and daughter Esther.Credit:Eddie Jim

That summed up the general mood of the Finch farewell press conference on Tuesday on the ground he loves so much. Finch, announcing his international career had come to an end after an “amazing ride”, had spent almost five minutes thanking those who made him the cricketer he is.

From his family, to former Victorian coach Greg Shipperd and long-time Cricket Victoria administrator Shaun Graf, to his manager of two decades Gerard Sholly, to those from Geelong Cricket Club and Colac West, and his state and international teammates, Finch, 36, had a good word for all.

Having said farewell to one-day international selection last year, Finch has now closed the door on Twenty20 international cricket, having had a distinguished career as a batsman and captain in the sport’s shortest format.

“The time is right to let the T20 team move on to a new phase, particularly with a World Cup coming up in 2024,” Finch, one of only four male Australians to captain a winning World Cup, said.

“It’s definitely the right time. I am looking forward to the next stage, which is a little bit more home time and being able to sit back and watch the Australian cricket team and not watch them while I am nervous and on the edge of my seat.”

The robust opener leaves with 3120 runs at 34.28 and a superb strike rate of 142.53 in 103 Twenty20 internationals. He posted two centuries and 19 half-centuries.

He twice held the record for the highest score in a Twenty20 international. His initial 156 against England at Southhampton in 2013 – a knock he said gave him the belief required to succeed to at the elite level – was bettered by his 172 against Zimbabwe in 2018.

However, his greatest achievement was leading Australia to a Twenty20 World Cup title in the United Arab Emirates in 2021.

While the on-field highs are obvious, Finch said he would miss life in the dressingroom the most, reaffirmed when great mate and former opening partner David Warner – the pair had a colourful time together in their days at the national academy – sent him a humbling text message from India on Monday night.

“The feeling you get when you walk out onto the field is pretty incredible,” Finch, who also played 146 ODIs, including as a key figure of the winning 2015 ODI World Cup, and five Tests, said.

“As a batsman when you walk out and mark centre for the first ball, that’s a feeling that can’t be replicated when you are playing for Australia, but the change rooms, the banter, travelling with the guys – I have known Davey, Uzzy [Usman Khawaja], these guys since I was 14 or 15. Davey sent me a beautiful text last night, he showed his emotional side.”

On a more serious front, Finch’s departure is also a first step towards regeneration for the Australian side after the failed World Cup defence on home shores late last year when the Australians did not make the finals.

Ahead of the next World Cup, in the West Indies and USA in June 2024, decisions will also have to be made on the future of Warner (35) and Matthew Wade (34), while Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell will be aged 34 and 35 respectively when that tournament begins.

Finch will continue to play in the Big Bash League and consider overseas options, depending on family circumstances. He will also be a television commentator.

An astute thinker, Finch said Cricket Australia should consider having a Twenty20 specialist as captain, even suggesting candidates who are not frontline selections could take charge. Naturally, he also mentioned Steve Smith and current Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins, but said the latter already had much on his plate.

“But then there are guys who could come in from the outside and have a big impact. Travis Head, Ashton Turner, these type of guys, they are experienced, they know how to win as well. Whichever way they go, the team is in great hands,” Finch said.

Turner guided the Perth Scorchers to the Big Bash League title last weekend, while Test batsman Head is the Adelaide Strikers’ skipper.

However, leadership questions are no longer something Finch needs to worry about – at least until, as insiders predict, he one day returns as coach.

“I don’t ever really sit back and think about my own career a huge amount. I try and always do what’s best for the team and put the team and everybody else before myself,” Finch, who has coaching aspirations, said.

“When I do sit back and reflect on it, it has been a pretty cool journey.”

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article