Australian Captain Tim Paine has come out and reasoned why his side continues to bat, the prolific limited overs opener, Aaron Finch in the middle order. Paine reiterated that the right-hander has been outstanding at the top of the order but is the only one who can adjust to the demands of batting lower down from his normal slot and help solve the team's issues in the middle overs against spin.
After Australia's heavy defeat by 242 runs at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, 19th June, Paine was quoted saying, "Clearly we know what Aaron Finch can do at the top of the order and we have no issues with that, But we've had some issues as a team over a period of time which have been in that middle order, so we want to see Finchy there for a little bit to see if he's a guy who can do it in the World Cup. It could change though. Looking forward, we have 12 months until the World Cup and we are looking at some options."
Paine's words are somewhat similar to what Steve Smith had echoed earlier in the year when Australia lost the home ODI series to the same side. Smith had explained, "The middle order has probably been where we have had a bit of an issue, We need runs out of that area, and wickets in hand to have an onslaught at the back end of the game. That’s something we haven’t done, and something we need to work on."
It makes cricketing sense. Finch is a fantastic player of spin, facing which has been a big issue for Australia in ODIs. He hasn't quite made an impact in this series but ahead of the World Cup, with David Warner returning and a young Darcy Short batting so well, fitting Finch in the middle-order could pay off.
Finch himself shed light on the whole situation recently and said, "We've got a few guys who can bat at the top of the order, Over the last 12 or 18 months I've batted in the middle order in quite a lot of T20 cricket – the IPL, the recent T20 tri-series – and done it reasonably successfully as well"
"So it's just about trying to find a balance in our side. What we have been doing hasn't been working over the last little while, but it's also a chance to try some new things. I'm very comfortable batting at five. I haven't done it a hell of a lot in one-day cricket but ... having done it in T20 cricket over the last 18 months gives me a bit more of an understanding on how to go about it. It's something that, over the next 12 months, will be shuffled around a little bit, just trying to find ... what combinations work best for the side."
Australia has now lost the 5-match ODI series, with 2 games to go.
(Inputs from Cricket.com.au)