- In the midst of an extended ‘lean patch’, a couple of text messages from opening partner David Warner during the IPL may have sparked the Aussie skipper’s return to form
Aaron Finch always had faith he would bounce back from an extended “lean patch”, and it appears his opening partner David Warner did too.
After the pair both smashed half-centuries to lead Australia to a dominant 10-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) series opener against Sri Lanka on Tuesday (7) night at the R. Premadasa International Stadium in Colombo, Warner revealed the text messages he sent the Aussie skipper during the Indian Premier League (IPL) that may have helped spark his return to form.
Here is how Jack Paynter reported the story on cricket.com.au yesterday (8):
Lean patch in white-ball formats
Finch has now hit consecutive half-centuries in T20Is, but it was a run of low scores in the IPL between those two knocks that had him under pressure ahead of Australia’s T20 World Cup defence on home soil in October-November.
The 35-year-old managed just 86 runs at 17.20 in five matches for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in this year’s tournament, while in the 12 months prior to Tuesday’s first T20I, Finch was averaging 19.90 with a strike-rate of 107 in 21 innings across both limited-overs formats, including scores of 23, 0, and 0 during the three-match ODI series against Pakistan in March-April.
Trying to help each other
“I just kept in touch with him, we always do,” Warner told reporters after the match.
“We always support each other as much as we can. If we see little things, we always try to help each other out by dropping him a message.”
Prone to getting out lbw throughout his career, including consecutive innings for a duck in Pakistan, Warner said Finch was moving into the line of the delivery too much and it was hindering his access to the ball.
‘Don’t walk into the ball’
“I just said to him not to walk out into the ball, let the ball actually do its work in the air,” Warner said.
“And if they want to bowl nice and full, and you stay still and keep that leg stump line, you’re going to get full contact with the ball, and if it swings late, it’s going to go down leg.
“He was probably moving a little too much. He was walking straight into the line of the ball and was still moving at the time of the delivery, and when you’re a batter, you don’t want to really do that unless you’re actually physically charging.
Staying nice and still
“For Finchy (Finch), it’s about keeping it simple and not moving too much around the crease.
“We saw that tonight (Tuesday night). He played some nice shots. He timed the ball well and when he’s nice and still, that’s when he’s at his best.
“He looked to hit everything down the ground (on Tuesday). When the ball was in his area, he hit his slog-sweeps which he is very good at… and you could just see the energy was a lot different with him running between wickets and he was up and about, and it was great to see.”
Effort to square up technique
Before departing for Sri Lanka, Finch also told reporters he had been fiddling with his technique in an effort to recapture his best form.
“I think my technique started to get a little bit too open,” Finch said in Melbourne last month.
“When you’re worried about the ball swinging back into your front pad, you can tend to open up, which then has a bit of a flow-on effect.
“I just lost the ability to transfer my weight back through the ball … but (I’m working on) squaring up my technique (through) my hips and shoulders and feet.”
Excelling against Sri Lanka
In the first T20I on Tuesday, Finch finished unbeaten on 61 from 40 balls, while Warner was 70 not out as Australia chased down Sri Lanka’s 128 all out with six overs to spare.
Warner’s average in his past five T20I innings against the island nation is 352, which includes his top T20I score of 100 not out, but the opener said he treats Sri Lanka the same as any other team.
Keep the momentum going
“I think I’ve just been fortunate enough to have that upper edge. I just try and start as well as I can, hit the ball into the gaps, and run hard,” he said.
“It’s great to be on top of it but I know at some stage, it’s going to ebb and flow so, while I’m going so well, I’ve got to try and keep the momentum going for the entire series.”
Australia, minus Mitchell Starc who has been ruled out with a finger injury, were set to be back in action last night at the R. Premadasa Stadium in the second T20I of the three-match series.