Aaron Finch says he wasnt surprised that Australian selectors dropped him from the Test side before giving him a chance in the middle order, suggesting that cutting him would have been an easy call for the panel to make.
Opening up publicly for the first time since he was axed ahead of the fourth Test against India, Finch said he barely picked up a bat for a week after he failed in the second innings of the Boxing Day Test, having been drained by an unrelenting schedule in which he at one stage spent just 12 days at home in eight months.
Finchs Test career could be over after a dismal series against India. Following his scores of eight and three at the MCG, there were calls for him to be demoted to the middle order – where he bats for Victoria – rather than be dumped from the XI.
However Finch, who made his Test debut for Australia in the United Arab Emirates only three months ago, said the call to drop him for the SCG Test was justified.
“I hadnt got any runs,” Finch said after leading the Melbourne Renegades to a win over Hobart on Monday night.
“Thats the reality. Two 50s in five Tests. I said this before when I got dropped from the one-day team, youd like to have some bullets to fire back but theres just none when youve made two 50s and average 16 for the series. I think it would have been a pretty easy call to be fair.”
The Test squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka will be named on Wednesday, a fact that Finch said he wasnt aware of.
Thats understandable as the Australian one-day captain has looked to escape from the game since being released from the Australian squad after he missed the XI for the SCG, having been told to go home and recharge ahead of a busy year of ODI cricket in which he is set to captain Australia in the World Cup.
Finch didnt even train with the Renegades on Sunday, having been in recovery mode until Monday night, when he made 42 from 39 balls before being run out by a direct hit from Johan Botha.
Finch said he was feeling refreshed after having some downtime at home with wife Amy, but while not using fatigue as an excuse said that he had been worn down by the hard work of trying to keep his position in the Test side.
“In the past Ive been very good at being able to manage how much I hit, how much I train in terms of working on feeling good versus working on technique, trying to work on footwork patterns and stuff,” he said.
“It was my choice to keep hitting balls. Youre searching for form, youre searching for something, and you dont want to walk out after getting out in a Test match or a one-dayer, or anything, and think jeez if only I had have hit some more balls. That was a really hard thing to do, to not bat. I know that Ive had success not batting in the past. I just didnt have the courage to stick to it.”
Finchs attention now turns to the upcoming three-match ODI series against India. Needing a desperate change of fortunes after a dire year in one-day cricket, Australian selectors changed tack significantly with their squad for the India series, dropping big-hitters Chris Lynn and DArcy Short while recalling the more sedate Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb.
While stressing that this wasnt the end for Lynn or Short, Finch explained the rationale behind the calls.
“Teams are bowling 20 to 25 overs of spin at us at the moment in one-day cricket. It was probably just a different make up of the side to help navigate through the middle overs,” he said.
Finch also said that the axing of veteran Cameron White from the Renegades' XI for Monday night's game was not the end of the road for the out-of-contract former Australian white-ball skipper.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.