What a crazy few days in the life of Finch!
Firstly, he gets dropped from the Victoria Sheffield Shield team in favour of a young gun, Travis Dean. Then duly responds by hitting 288 against a touring Black Caps side (which you would walk away from pretty confident you had proven the selectors wrong). Dean then replies by setting a little history of his own by becoming the first person EVER to score a century in each innings of his Shield debut, without losing his wicket. An amazing effort, but it would have Finch’s head in a spin.
Surely Dean has booked his ticket till the end of the year? He would have to play pretty bloody poorly for a long stretch to use up all those golden boy credits. So where does that leave Finch in the larger scheme?
Personally, I have always found it a little amusing that sections of the public throw his name for a shot at the Test team. His domestic Shield record is lucky to be considered average. That’s Shield average, not Test average… Shield average. So while I was surprised that the Bushrangers would make the call and drop him, I wasn’t surprised his head was on the block.
When he is on song, he kind of reminds me of Shewag. Stocky, stand and deliver style. It’s as if using his feet he’ll burn too many calories. In saying that, there is no doubting the bloke’s eye… Can crunch a ball. But as we know, that’s not a ticket to long form success.
I give Finch a lot of credit for signing up for the county season last year. Despite missing most of it through injury, it at least showed his intentions of improving his red ball game. If you are as naturally gifted, as he clearly is, I think there is plenty of room to develop the mentality for the longer forms. So, good on him for putting his name up.
In the last 6-12 months, I believe the batting stocks in Australia have actually improved dramatically. There were times not long before this that I thought, if Finch lands a couple of big performances at the right time his name could actually be in the mix.
For me, I’m pretty thankful he is low on the test pecking order these days. We have a lot of good prospects that are ready for a shot at the team if they are required. I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t think Finch is the long form player he needs to be and it looks like the Bushrangers agree.
Victoria already has a strong squad, the addition of Dean only proves the depth. Despite Finch’s “average” average, to bench him shows that they are focused on silverware. They would probably see not making the Matador Cup final as a failure. They were the only team to beat the Blues through the year and had every right to challenge for the title. The slip up against the Redbacks in the semi reduced the final to probably a 1 vs 3 scenario (in my eyes) and the results speak for themselves.
Strong, competitive state squads are absolute key to maintaining a strong Australian side. So I think a pat on the back to Dave Saker for making a tough call with eyes set firmly on success. Obviously, I think Finch will be back in the line-up at some stage this year. It will just be interesting the see where and what the circumstances are.