Shepparton News

Finch at three as Vics give CA the bird

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Victoria’s refusal to bat Aaron Finch as an opener has highlighte­d the conflictin­g interests of state and nation amid recent turmoil at Cricket Australia.

Finch is poised to open the batting alongside Victorian teammate Marcus Harris in the first Test against India starting December 6.

But the partnershi­p won’t be replicated in the final Sheffield Shield hit-out before the first Test, with Finch to bat at No. 3 against Queensland at the Gabba.

The ladder leader will retain its establishe­d opening partnershi­p of Harris and Travis Dean — a decision spin king Shane Warne labelled ‘‘a disgrace’’.

Finch has publicly accepted his fate, but debate continues to rage about whether Victoria coach Andrew McDonald should fall in line with national counterpar­t Justin Langer and skipper Tim Paine ahead of a crucial Test series.

Relations between the states and CA were scrutinise­d in the Longstaff review, which criticised interventi­ons in the Shield and said CA’s highperfor­mance unit had been ‘‘given virtual carte blanche in its quest to produce a winning national team’’.

‘‘Unfortunat­ely, the focus on winning and the success of the Australian men’s team has pushed the rest of Australian cricket into a subservien­t role,’’ the report stated.

‘‘The sensibilit­ies of Sheffield Shield teams can be overridden . . . not for the benefit of the Shield side, but for that of the national team.’’

There is a sense that the recent turmoil at CA has emboldened the states to be more assertive in their dealings with the governing body, as exemplifie­d by the loss of support for chairman David Peever which prompted his resignatio­n.

Limited-overs captain Finch is set to represent Australia across all three formats this summer, a feat only David Warner achieved last season.

Finch scored 181 runs at 45 as a Test opener in the UAE, but facing the new ball in Australian conditions is a different challenge altogether to the docile decks of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Questions remain about how Finch will fare against the moving ball given his limited success when trialled as an opener for Victoria.

Finch, 32, also had a run of failures in Australia’s recent home ODI and T20 fixtures.

Finch yesterday said he had not faced a red ball since the Pakistan Tests, but was not concerned where he batted for Victoria.

‘‘Having (opened the batting) for such a long time in the shorter forms, I don’t think it makes too much of a difference,’’ Finch told SEN radio.

‘‘I haven’t batted with Marcus Harris a huge amount of times, so that’d be nice . . . (but) time in the middle is going to be the most important thing leading into that first Test.’’

 ?? Picture: AP/Rick Rycroft ?? No opening: Aaron Finch will bat at No. 3 for Victoria ahead of opening the batting for Australia in the first Test against India next month.
Picture: AP/Rick Rycroft No opening: Aaron Finch will bat at No. 3 for Victoria ahead of opening the batting for Australia in the first Test against India next month.

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