Finch backs Warner for World Cup opener despite IPL drop

Aaron Finch backed David Warner to open the bat for Australia in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, despite his retirement from Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

Warner has been sidelined from Hyderabad’s starting lineup since resuming IPL in the UAE after scoring 0 and 2.

The opener was one of seven players who retired from Australia’s white ball tours to the West Indies and Bangladesh over the winter, meaning he has played competitive cricket since the end of April.

But the Australian captain has said he plans to open the stick with Warner when the Australian campaign kicks off with a game against South Africa on October 23.

“Yes, absolutely,” Finch said, before the team left for Dubai. “He’s one of the best players to ever play for Australia.

“I have no doubt that his preparation, well, while he would like to play for Hyderabad, no doubt. I know he always trains outdoors. Yeah, he’ll be good to go.

Finch’s own preparations were hampered by a knee injury he sustained while touring the West Indies.

But after surgery and a period of rehabilitation, Finch expects to be in great shape sooner than expected and will likely take part in Australia’s two World Cup warm-up matches.

“When I first had the surgery, the plan was probably to get hit and go for those games,” Finch said. “But over the last couple of weeks my recovery has progressed really well so, yes, it looks more and more likely that I’ll be fit and ready to face them.

“And just in terms of the intensity that I was able to train, the amount of acceleration, deceleration, load on my knee, everything is really positive.”

Australia’s preparation for the elusive T20 tournament, which they have never won, has not been ideal; they have lost their last five international T20 series, to England, India, New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh and other key players such as Pat Cummins and Steve Smith are also heading to the tournament after de long layoffs.

“Training indoors or training just in the nets obviously doesn’t compare to the intensity of the game,” said Finch. “So the two warm-up games and the advance to the World Cup are going to be really crucial.

“So we go in and quarantine, I think there’s three training days scheduled, then two warm-up games, so they’re going to be really important in getting the guys up to speed as quickly as possible.

“But I have a lot of confidence in the experience of the group. We’ve got guys who’ve been through long layoffs before, we’ve got guys who’ve had injuries before, and it’s not really that much different when you’re trying to level up quickly.

“I think it’s going to play out in our hands, it might allow us to be a little cooler, to be honest”,

Glenn Maxwell, on the other hand, is in impressive form; the versatile has displayed half centuries in his last three IPL games for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“He looks like he’s hitting the ball well, he’s confident right now and his backswing is really impressive,” said Finch. “So what I like is that he takes games in depth and since we know he’s as destructive as anyone in the world, when he’s around, yeah, happy in the way. which is happening right now. “

There has been long-standing speculation about Australia’s strongest T20 batting team, but Finch has confirmed that Steve Smith, who is recovering from an elbow injury, will hit in middle order, where several players will compete for selection.

“I think he’s shown over a long period of time that no matter what course he’s on he’s still a really good horse,” said Finch. “So he’s someone who adapts very quickly to situations, his game speaks for itself.

“The 360 ​​nature of his game is, I think, really suited to our middle order and, he’s someone who will be there, without a doubt.”

Seven Australian IPL players are involved in the World Cup squad and, while some have spent more time in the shelter, Finch said their presence in the United Arab Emirates provided valuable insight into the conditions and opposition players.

“I spoke to Maxi and Davey, who are on the pitch there in Dubai, about the conditions on what we can expect, what we think it might play like.

“But without delving too deeply into the fact that we come in with views that I guess we might have blinders to when we walk in.”

“The guys are very diligent in the way they go about it, there is no doubt that there will be, over the next week, a little more information on the opposition players than they are. see.

“Obviously our first game is against South Africa and there are a lot of South Africans in the IPL tournament right now, so there is always information sharing like that so it doesn’t have to be. not changed too much. “

It will be a tough journey to the knockout stages of the World Cup for Australia, who are part of a group that includes 50-time World Cup winners South Africa, England, and the reigning champion of the T20 World Cup in the West Indies.

But Finch said that despite Australia’s recent form and lack of ideal preparation, he remains confident they can win their first big T20 trophy.

“We understand that we haven’t played our best in these tournaments,” admitted Finch. “We have had an interrupted preparation like everyone else in the last 18 months.

“We are still very confident. We know if we play our best we are going to be hard to beat, we can compete with the best in the world.

“We feel like our squad is well balanced, but we have options to play different combinations and different team structures, so yeah that’s really a motivation, but we just have to be at our best at the right time. . “

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