Skipper’s cold reason for ODI snub
Aussie skipper Aaron Finch has given a blunt assessment of his struggling batting order after a demoralising series defeat to South Africa kicked off what appears to be a long and arduous summer.
The series loss continued Australia's horror ODI streak both at home and away. The last time the green and gold won a one-day series was in January 2017, almost two years ago.
A century from veteran Shaun Marsh couldn't help the home side over the line as South Africa defended well in the field.
Fans were perplexed as dynamite hitter Glenn Maxwell, widely backed as one of the most explosive hitters in world cricket, came in late at No. 7 behind juniors Alex Carey and Travis Head.
The 30-year-old hit 35 off 27 deliveries before being dismissed in the 49th over with victory well out of Australia's hands.
Finch explained Maxwell's demotion immediately after the series loss, saying the Victorian's performance in recent months warrants a bowling all-rounder's spot in the limited overs side at best.
"If you look at Glenn's stats recently, he probably hasn't made as many runs as he would have liked as a pure batsman," Finch said.
"Therefore for him to be in the side and as an all-rounder, he's probably batting in that No.7 spot."
"(There are) guys are playing reasonably well around him. Maxi would have liked some more runs, and obviously wants to bat higher.
"But the reality is he's in the side as a bit of an all-rounder but he hasn't scored as many runs that he needed to over the last little while in one-day cricket to probably justify taking up a top-four spot.
"That's just reality at the end of the day."
Finch's blunt Maxwell admission was the first of many suggestions on how to fix Australia's batting crisis.
The 31-year old backed Big Bash power hitter and now ODI regular Chris Lynn as a future limited-overs opener. Lynn, who usually bats at No. 4 in the green and gold, got the nod to open with Finch in the series decider.
Lynn, who is under understandable pressure with the World Cup looming in May, scored a duck, rounding out his series average to a disappointing 19.66 amid a struggling top order.
But Finch still believes Lynn has a future as Australia's pinch hitting one-day opener after the Proteas sealed a 2-1 ODI series win.
"We thought it was a really attacking move to try and take South Africa head-on in that power play - we wanted to fight fire with fire," Finch said of Lynn's elevation to opener.
"It didn't pay off but that's cricket.
"The way he can turn a game. We saw it briefly in Adelaide when he flicked the switch against (Proteas quick Kagiso) Rabada.
"He changed the momentum of the game totally. That (Lynn as opener) is still definitely a thought going forward." Master blaster Lynn is known more for his Twenty20 prowess but Finch believes the 28-year-old could become an ODI force.
Game three in Hobart was only Lynn's fourth one-day game for Australia. He has made a total of just 75 ODI runs at 18.75 with an unusually low strike rate of 84.26.
"He's still relatively new to international cricket. He's been around domestic cricket and various tournaments for a longtime but international cricket, he's probably just still trying to find his feet a little bit," Finch said of Lynn.
"He knows what works best for him in the shortest (T20) format and it's probably just about finding that balance at international (ODI) level as well."
Lynn was one of the first picked for the ODI series against South Africa after beingthe top run scorer in the recent domestic one-day tournament, thrashing 452 at 75.33 with a strike rate of 117.70 as QueenslandNo.3.
"I think the way he played in the JLT Cup (domestic one-dayers) this year was exceptional," said Finch.
"Being the guy who hadn't played one-day cricket for a long time, that was really positive."
Australia's one-day team next takes on India in a three-match series in January.
- with AAP