- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 23 February 2021, 8:34AM
Aaron Finch's ugly run of low scores in the game's shortest format has continued, with the Australian one-day captain removed for just one on Monday evening.
In the first T20 match against New Zealand at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, the right-hander slapped a Tim Southee delivery straight to the point fielder in the second over of Australia's run chase.
The dismissal sparked a cataclysmic collapse, with the visitors crumbling to 4/19 before eventually suffering a 53-run defeat.
Australian teammate David Warner offered the 34-year-old Victorian some advice on Fox Cricket's coverage: "Don't worry about getting bowled through the gate or (the ball) hitting the front pad, just have a clear mind and bang the bowler straight back over his head.
"That's when he's at his best."
The Black Caps had a similar issue at the top with Martin Guptill dismissed for a three ball duck. It was his first duck in 69 international T20 innings.
There's no denying Finch is one of Australia's most successful cricketers in the 20-over format — earlier this summer, he was named in the ICC Men's T20I Team of The Decade, and has registered two of the three highest scores in T20I history.
But Finch's recent form has understandably been concerning for Australian cricket fans ahead of this year's T20 World Cup.
His most recent knocks in T20 cricket now read 18, 8, 0, 14, 13, 0, 10, 4, 6 and 1.
Finch's horror slump began during last year's Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates.
Representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Australian mustered 268 runs at an average of 22.33, passing fifty just once in 12 innings.
Bangalore brutally decided to drop Finch from the starting XI towards the end of the tournament, replacing him with Australian young gun Josh Philippe — who at the time was yet to make his international debut.
The Royal Challengers had secured Finch for AU$897,454 at the 2019 IPL auction, meaning each of his eight sixes during the competition cost more than AU$110,000 each.
Unfortunately, Finch failed to rediscover any momentum after returning home for the Big Bash League.
The Melbourne Renegades captain scored 179 runs in 13 innings this summer, his average of 13.76 among the lowest of recognised batsmen in the T20 tournament.
Worryingly, the Australian T20 squad is packed with candidates eagerly waiting for a chance to prove their worth at the top of the order.
Big Bash superstars Josh Philippe, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade and D'Arcy Short are all proven match-winners when opening the batting, while Australian stalwarts David Warner and Alex Carey are also capable of filling the role.
But the experience Finch brings to the Australian side is hard to ignore — he currently sits at No. 3 in the ICC T20 batting rankings, and has twice been awarded Australia's T20 International Player of the Year.
Finch ensured a similar form slump in the 2018/19 summer, with some pundits calling for the veteran to lose his spot in the Australian side.
But as explored in Amazon docu-series The Test, Finch returned to his destructive best ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, registering mountains of runs in the sub-continent.
The greats have a knack of bouncing back.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission