When Aaron Finch was trapped in front on the very first ball of the third T20I against New Zealand, every Australian fan may surely have went “Ahh, here we go again!”. However, a dodgy DRS decision saved the Australian captain, and it started probably one of the most extraordinary comebacks to form witnessed in recent times.
For a player who wasn’t able to time the ball past the 30-yard circle, Aaron Finch began smoking them all aorund the park. Anyone looking for bright transitions would not have wanted to dwell elsewhere than the sight of seeing Aaron Finch muscling the ball.
This forces one to ponder upon a few questions. What is this curious case of Aaron Finch? How does he always come back to brillaint form after having looked woefully our of touch for almost a year? Or is this innings a fluke, is he really back into form or still struggling?
Aaron Finch, who was once the #1 ranked T20 batsman in the world, went unsold in the IPL 2021 auction. And the worst part is that the Australian skipper wasn’t even surprised about it. He was kind of expecting to go unsold, something which is a testament to his terrible form which had made him low on confidence.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke slammed Finch for having such a negative attitude. But who can blame Finch, given the poor year he has had with the bat?
The year 2020 was a horrible one for the entire world due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Finch, who had started the year with a sensational ODI hundred against India, would have never thought what was in store for him ahead, especially in the shortest format of the game.
The slump in form really started with the IPL 2020 season, where Finch was anything but consistent. He scored 268 runs in 12 games, but looked woefully out of touch. He was so bad that he eventually had to be replaced by an uncapped compatriot opener in Josh Philippe.
The writing was on the wall and Finch was released ahead of the IPL 2021 season. He did seem to come back to form when he scored a brilliant hundred against India in the ODI series later that year, but his woeful form in T20Is continued.
He was the skipper of Melbourne Renegades in the BBL 10 season. While he was hopeful that BBL would eventually be the platform where he finds form, he was badly mistaken. In 13 innings, he failed to score even a single half-century as his side crashed out of the tournament.
His last 25 T20 innings prior to the third T20I against New Zealand had prouduced just 382 runs at an dubious average of 15.4 and an underwhelming strike rate of 110.4.
Was this really Aaron Finch’s records, you wondered.
Suddenly, with the T20 World Cup in almost seven months’ time there were talks about a potential replacement at the top of the order. With David Warner and Smith likely to return for the showpiece event and Matthew Wade, Phillipe banging the doors of the selectors with consistent performances, Finch’s position could be in serious danger.
From being an unstoppable white-ball player for Australia to one who is questioned on possibly every single innings of his, Finch’s fall from grace has been sensational to say the least. His family and wife have also received alleged threats as the opener’s woeful form continued.
In these tough circumstances, these two vital half centuries would be signal a welcome relief for the Aussie skipper. Although the Kiwis won the series 3-2, the biggest positive for Australia was their skipper getting among the runs. Along with the runs, the strike-rate was up as well.
However, surely the longevity of his form will be tested, given that he will play The Hundred as well as quite a few T20Is before the T20 World Cup. But given that the showpiece event is in India, it would be a body blow for Finch to not get that experience in those conditions.
With so many questions around selection and the pressure of never having won a T20 World Cup, the Australian fans are in for an intriguing few months.