1ON1: AARON FINCH
THE MAN RATED AS ONE OF THE BEST LIMITED-OVERS PLAYERS IN THE BUSINESS TALKS ABOUT HIS ROLE AS AN OPENER MENTORING THE YOUNG BLOKES, AND HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THOSE WHO SAY T20 IS HURTING TEST CRICKET.
We've had a huge Aussie summer of cricket so far, Finchy. It must be a busy time of the year for you?
“Absolutely, it is always a busy time of the year with Shield games, ODI series, the Big Bash and also the Tests. So it is a huge summer of cricket and something that I know all the boys are looking forward to. And I am no different.”
Over the years you have established yourself as an ODI and T20 opener. Is it a role you are comfortable with?
“Yeah, I love opening the batting in the white-ball form of the game. Obviously the ball can swing and that presents an opportunity to get out early, but it is still the best time to bat, I think. Opening the batting nowadays, you can get out there and take the game on and try and give it a bit of a tap, so that is the part of the game that I love. With the Big Bash, it is an exciting time of the year.”
Speaking of Big Bash, have you been surprised by the exponential growth of the competition?
“It has been extraordinary and I don’t think anyone would have predicted how big it has actually got in the first five years. To get 83,000 last year to a domestic T20 game between the Stars and the Renegades was unbelievable. I never thought I would play in a domestic game where that many people turned out.
“You see the crowd numbers right around the country and you see the TV ratings that are going through the roof. It is amazing and the amount of new faces and people who are coming through the gates, women and children and young families, is wonderful.”
The Big Bash allows a lot of the greats of the past to play competitive cricket again. How special is that for you personally and for the younger players?
“I think it is such an important part of players’ development to have guys like Mike Hussey and Brad Hogg to learn the game from. Having guys with so much experience, who are so good at their craft, is wonderful and to have them in and around a lot of young talent teaching them the game and bouncing ideas off is very beneficial. Showing guys the ropes in high-pressure cricket is extraordinary and I don’t think that can be underestimated.”
As captain of the Melbourne Renegades, do you thrive on mentoring the young guys?
“I think any time you are a senior player or you have the tag of being a leader, it is important to make sure you are passing on as much knowledge as you can and making sure that guys who mightn’t have had the amount of exposure that I’ve been lucky enough to have in my career, that you get them up to speed as quick as you can. You help them learn their game quicker than if they were left to do it themselves. I see it as being an important role.”
Some see T20 and Big Bash as a blight on Test cricket. What do you make of that view?
“I see that T20 is still getting people involved in the game. No matter what the format, people are coming through the gates to watch and I think that’s important. It’s number-one to entertain the crowd and get new fans involved in the game. T20 is definitely doing that.
“I think people who might have traditionally been turned off by Test cricket, just purely because of the length of time the games go for, are getting into T20. I think there was a stat that 70 per cent of women who are coming to Big Bash games are new to cricket. On the back of that you get their interest in Test cricket and one-day cricket and I think there is a huge flow on. Not just the fact they are supporting T20; they are supporting cricket.”
Toget83,000 last year to a T20 game ... I never thought I would play in a domestic game where that many people turned out.