Aaron Finch, Australia’s one-day opener, has warned his teammates that no one other than captain Steve Smith is guaranteed a spot in Australia’s One-Day International team in the wake of Glenn Maxwell’s shock axing.
Maxwell, Australia’s ODI player of the year for 2015, was a surprise omission from Australia’s squad for the five-match series against Sri Lanka, which starts on Sunday (August 21) in Colombo. The all-rounder was dumped after a run of low scores but Finch said it signalled a resounding statement from the Australian selectors.
“Besides the skipper (Steve Smith), no one else is really guaranteed a spot in the side,” Finch said in Colombo on Friday (August 19). “You have to be performing all the time. You just have to keep getting the business done and if you don’t, there’s always someone breathing down your neck for your spot.”
Without Maxwell, an opportunity has emerged in Australia’s middle order with Finch nominating 22-year-old Travis Head as a likely candidate. “When you’ve got young guys performing well, Travis Head went to England and got 175 (for Yorkshire) and played well in the last domestic one-day summer, there’s always someone breathing down your neck,” Finch said. “So you have to be performing all the time, or have a real lot of credits in the bank.”
After Australia suffered one of their worst-ever Test series defeats during their whitewash to Sri Lanka, Finch hoped the ODI team could provide some redemption. “The guys are very disappointed with the Test series and how that went,” he said. “So the fresh guys coming in for the one-dayers, it’s our job to really pick up the energy and start at training. But we’re still very confident coming into this one-day series.
“We haven’t actually seen the (Test-squad) guys a hell of a lot,” he added. “So this will be our first chance as full squad to get together. Understandably, the guys would have been disappointed but that’s history.”
With spearhead Mitchell Starc in white hot form after a dominant Test series, Finch believed Australia would rely on their pace attack during the ODI series. “When you look at our bowling line-up you’ve got the skills of Mitchell Starc bowling fast and swinging it, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile, these guys who run in and hit the wicket,” he said. “That can be such a valuable asset, especially with two new balls.
“Generally in the subcontinent you get a bit of skid with the brand-new ball,” he added.