AARON Finch has revealed how the brutally critical feedback he received from the players who voted him in has shaped his second-coming as an Australian captain.
On Friday night in Adelaide, Finch surely became one of the first players ever to win an official man-of-thematch award based purely on the strength of his captaincy.
He made 41 with the bat, but that was only the fifth highest score in a game clearly dominated by bowlers.
Finch’s honour was an extraordinary recognition of the tactical impact his decision-making had on Australia defending a sub-par total of 231, and it has set the tone for a selfless leader who listens and is willing to change his ways.
One of the most drastic changes implemented by new coach Justin Langer was an AFL-style approach where the playing group was asked to put forward nominations for the men it wanted to be its captains and vicecaptains.
Finch has opened up about how his endorsement as ODI skipper six months out from a World Cup defence didn’t come without some frank stipulations from a playing group not afraid to point out the shortcomings it had perceived.
Players told Finch they wanted him to be less grumpy with his body language and to not talk for the sake of talking.
His readiness to accept and evolve shows the character of a true leader.
“For me, a lot of (my approach) is about being able to take the negatives on board, the criticisms on board and start to work on them,” Finch told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“One of them was my emotions on the field can sometimes get a little bit out of control. Not losing my temper, but getting a bit emotional. That’s something I’ve really worked on.
“The other thing that came out was in the past is I’ve talked too much around training and it was about making sure when I do speak, the messages are really clear and pretty simple.
“I don’t things.”
Shane Warne has lauded the quality of Finch’s tactics and field placements in the triumph over South Africa in Adelaide and believes the Victorian could also be Test captain, despite only having two matches in the baggy green.
Finch marshalled his bowlers Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc to perfection, something that might have surprised some given he was removed from the Twenty20 captaincy in 2016 in favour of Steve Smith.
The 31-year-old has become better at interpreting the needs of his teammates and wants to be a captain who backs them in.
“In the past I’ve been someone who has talked to bowlers, particularly at the end of the innings, like every ball. Asking them what they’re bowling, and setting fields to that,” he said. “Sometimes that can be an extra layer of emotion or extra layer of burden on them that they don’t need. Particularly bowling at the death of a one-dayer or T20.
“So for me it’s about just giving them their own space as much as I can and if they want to talk about something, if they’re not sure of their plans, then we’ll discuss it.” want to complicate
Australian captain Aaron Finch takes the long handle during his knock of 41 against South Africa in Adelaide on Friday and (inset) leads his men off after their victory. Pictures: GETTY IMAGES