Aaron Finch announces retirement from ODI and backs Steve Smith as new frontman

Aaron Finch plans to challenge for the Twenty20 World Cup next month, despite the white ball captain’s announcement of his retirement from one-day cricket.

“It was a fantastic race with incredible memories,” said Finch. “I was extremely lucky to be part of some brilliant one day teams. Likewise, I was blessed by everyone I played with and the many people behind the scenes.

“Now is the time to give a new leader the best possible opportunity to prepare for and win the next World Cup. I thank everyone who has helped and supported me on my journey so far.

Out of form and with his place in the squad uncertain, Finch, 35, confirmed Sunday’s ODI against New Zealand would be his last in the format for Australia.

“Being just over 12 months away from the 50 plus World Cup, I thought the time was right,” Finch told reporters in Cairns.

“I could have tried to play another series – the series against England after the World Cup – and it would have been a bit of a fairy tale finishing at the MCG, but I think that was never my style of being complacent in any kind of way.

Finch still intends to lead Australia’s charge in the T20 format, with Cricket Australia confirming he plans to lead the country in the world title defense next month.

“Aaron is an extremely gifted and determined player whose exceptional batting actions have been matched by his strong and inspiring leadership,” said Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley. “His decision to step down as ODI captain is now typical of his selfless approach to the game.

“I am delighted that Aaron will lead the Australian team into the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where his leadership, experience and tactical acumen will be integral to defending our T20 World Cup title in residence.”

Finch has twice held the record for the highest score in a T20I: his 172 against Zimbabwe in 2018, surpassing his own swashbuckling 156 against England in 2013.

Whether Finch continues in the 20 format after the World Cup and summer Big Bash League will be a decision for another day, he said. For now, his focus is on defending the T20 title at home.

“I would love to,” Finch said of whether he would continue in the T20s after the summer schedule. “Being able to spend a little more time at home with [wife] Amy and [daughter] Esther, watching her grow is also important.

“My family sacrificed a lot so I could do what I did and loved doing, so it’s probably my turn to give back a little.”

Leader of Australia since 2018, Finch has played 145 games, including 54 as captain.

One of the most damaging opening hitters in the world when at his best, he has made over 5,000 carries in the format and averaged nearly 40.

But those numbers have taken a big hit in recent years, averaging 14.6 in 2022 while failing to top 20 in its last seven innings. His retirement call came after his fifth duck in any format this year.

Finch made his debut against Sri Lanka in 2013 with his 17 centuries of fourth only behind Ricky Ponting, David Warner and Mark Waugh in one-day cricket for Australia.

The right-hander played a key role in Australia’s one-day success at the 2015 World Cup before leading the side to the semi-finals of the 2019 tournament.

Born in the Victorian town of Colac, Finch made his Test debut in 2018 thanks to his white-ball form, scoring 62 and 49 on his Dubai debut against Pakistan, but suffered a dip in form on the season 2018-19 at home and was dropped to the side after just five Tests, never to return.

Finch’s decision to retire leaves Australia looking for a new one-day captain ahead of next year’s World Cup, with Test skipper Pat Cummins previously indicating he is unwilling lead the team.

Finch said he saw no problem with former captain Steve Smith taking the reins four years after the Sandpaper Gate stripped him of his role. Finch, however, couldn’t see why the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 should stand in the way of Smith if he was to return to captaincy and was best suited.

“I don’t think (that would be a problem),” Finch said. “He captained a Test match in Adelaide after Pat came out with COVID. So I think it’s all been put to bed.

Finch also believed Smith had several years ahead of him with the 33-year-old right-hander and one of 11 players in his thirties in Australia’s current ODI squad.

Australia’s ODI captain before the ball tampering scandal in 2018, Smith immediately played a tactical role in setting up the pitches when he returned to the team the following year.

However, Finch said if any player could juggle captaining all three formats at once, it was Cummins. However, a big issue would likely be Cummins’ availability, as he’s rested 28 of 65 games over the past four years.

“It’s pretty tough, but I think if anyone can pull it off it would be Pat,” Finch said. “He’s an incredibly resilient person. He showed brilliant leadership of the Test group and I loved working with him.

“He takes everything in his stride. He has all the tools to do it.

Aaron Finch announces retirement from ODI and backs Steve Smith as new frontman

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