LEAD­ING EDGE

Sunday Herald Sun - - Cricket - BEN HORNE

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

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