Aussies’ skipper aims to replace Pakistan as number one T20I team
Australia skipper Aaron Finch has set his sights on the number one spot in ICC T20I rankings ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup.
According to details, the Finch-led side will have an opportunity to replace Pakistan from the top spot with clean-sweeps against the Men in Green and Sri Lanka in the next two weeks.
“That’s the goal (to become world No.1). We’re No.5 at the moment in the world and that’s probably been a real reflection of where we’ve been for the last couple of years,” he said. “There’s always times when you go through ups and downs as a side, but now we have a specific date in mind, which is the start of the World Cup (in October).
“Everything that we’re doing on and off the field is based around working back from the T20 World Cup,” he added.
Finch is also hoping spin bowler Ashton Agar can blossom into a swashbuckling “finisher” in the batting lineup to give the team more flexibility.
Left-arm spinner Agar, who has averaged 13.66 with the bat from 16 T20Is, was named at seven in the batting order in the series-opener against Sri Lanka on Sunday but went unused as Australia’s top order dominated in the 134-run victory.
While Agar is some way short of all-rounder status, Finch said the 26-year-old was working hard to get there.
“His batting’s still developing,” Finch told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday. “Something that he’s been working on is becoming that real finisher towards the back end of an innings in T20 and in one-day games. So if he can keep developing that, it’ll give you a lot of options to play that second spinner or go with four quicks, or if there’s another all-rounder that comes in.”
On Sunday, hard-hitting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was sent in ahead of number three Steve Smith and smashed 62 off 28 balls after batsmen David Warner (100 not out) and Finch (64) set up a 122-run opening partnership.
The captain’s call denied former skipper Smith a chance to bat in his first full international on home soil since serving a 12-month ball-tampering ban. Finch said he wanted his batsmen to be ready to play anywhere in the order according to match situations, to make the team more competitive when they host the T20 World Cup.
“I think at all times, you’ll see four or five guys in the sheds with their pads on,” said Finch. “To be really flexible as a middle order, prepared to go in at any stage, is important to catch teams off guard. If you’ve got left and right-hand combinations, there are a few options there, so it’s a nicely balanced side at the moment.”
Australia will look to take an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka at the Gabba on Wednesday.