Aaron Finch struck at 125.07 in T20Is in 2021 vis-à-vis Career SR of 145.29; Is he still a force?
Aaron Finch’s year-on-year strike rate trend has declined from 158.09 in 2019 to 138.97 in 2020 to 125.07 in 2021 to an all-time low of 121.67 in 2022.
Not every day do we talk about replacing a player who led his team towards their maiden T20 World Cup triumph less than 12 months ago. Such is the strange case of Australia’s white ball captain, Aaron James Finch.
The 35-year-old, Aaron Finch debuted way back in 2011 as a 24-year-old hard-hitting middle-order finisher and tasted success quite early in his career. A quickfire 33-ball 53 from "The finisher Finch" helped Australia win by a narrow margin of 4 runs against their arch rivals, England. Finch’s clean hitting ability helped him earn a promotion in the batting order, and he was asked to open the innings for Australia in T20Is, and as they say, the rest is in the history books.
Strike Rate of 125.07 in T20Is in 2021 vis-à-vis Career SR of 145.29
An opener with a T20I career batting average of 35.24 and a fiery strike rate of 145.29 is a rare player indeed. In fact, since 2011 Finch’s T20I average had never gone below 30 until 2021, when he averaged just 28.69 in the 17 games he played for Australia, including the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Finch was desperate for runs after failing to breach the 45-run mark in his previous seven innings, with 44 against England being his best in the last T20 World Cup.
Read More: ICC Men's T20 WC 2021 - Final - Australia eclipse NZ by 8 wickets to win their first T20 WC title
Dismal performance with bat in ICC World T20 2021
In the last three World Cup games, Finch had scores of 9, 0 and just 5 runs in the all-important finals. In 2021, Finch could only accumulate 459 runs in 17 innings at a below-par strike rate of 125.07. It’s not just one odd bad year that has sparked the fire for a replacement of Australia’s captain. Since 2018, when he averaged 40.85 and stroked at 176.41, Finch’s average and strike rate have both crashed down faster than the cryptocurrency prices. Finch’s year-on-year strike rate trend has declined from 158.09 in 2019 to 138.97 in 2020 to 125.07 in 2021 to an all-time low of 121.67 in 2022.
Persistent Issues with incoming deliveries
Since his debut in T20 internationals, Finch has scored 20.34 per cent of Australia’s total runs in T20Is with 17 fifties and two centuries. Finch is also only the second Australian to have scored two or more centuries in T20Is. A deep dive analysis of Finch’s mode of dismissals shows that the Australian opener has been dismissed caught out 60.5 per cent (49 times), followed by bowled 23.5 per cent (19 times).
Finch’s weakness against the incoming delivery is as well-known a problem as global warming, yet we are all waiting for magical results on its own. Finch’s match-up batting first and batting second is like petrol prices in Hong Kong vs Venezuela; the contrast is more than 18 per cent. In the first innings, he has played 37 innings, scoring a mammoth 1,566 runs at a strike rate of 151.45, averaging 46.06, and in the second innings, the average comes crashing down to just 27.43, where Finch has accumulated 1289 runs in 55 innings.
Notably, in his 11-year-old T20I career with 92 innings, Finch has won player of the match award in just six innings. That’s just 15.3 per cent of the total T20I games he has featured in for Australia.
Read More: Bilateral series between Full-time members & Associate Nations: Perfect Match? Really?
How long could Australia back him just as captain?
Aaron Finch's failure to deliver match-winning innings has resulted in him coming under the radar of Australian selectors, where young openers Ben McDermott, Josh Philippe and others are vying for a spot. The man with the highest score (172) in T20 international cricket has definitely been one of the major pillars of Australia’s growth, but in recent times he has also been one of the reasons for their decline.
With the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 set to be held in October-November in Australia, Finch’s chances to make it into the eleven slumps further. The right-hand batter averages just 31.97 in the 35 innings he has played in home conditions vis-a-vis 37.08 in the 57 games that he has batted outside Australia. With fitness, age and form, everything going away from Finch, unlike the incoming deliveries that the bowlers target him with, only time will tell whether we will still see Finch don Australia’s yellow jersey or not ahead of the World Cup.
Read More: India's Approach in T20Is: A Template which requires major rejig?