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ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP

June 8, 2019

Aaron Finch

Kennington, London, England, UK

Q. Aaron, after the 18 months for Australian cricket, how important was the win against the West Indies fighting back when you were in a tough spot?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, I think it was really important, especially in the context of the competition. I think when you're in a tournament play, I think winning them close ones, especially early in the tournament is really important, to keep the momentum going. But as you know, the weather could play a part at some point in this tournament, so to be able to get two points where we didn't play our best cricket was really crucial.

Q. After his match-winning effort against West Indies, Coulter-Nile had apprehended that he could be dropped from the game even after his beautiful 70. Did you speak to him or will you be able to announce the 11?
AARON FINCH: We don't have an 11 just yet, but I think it's great that there's so much competition for spots in the team. To be able to have a look at a guy who's batted No. 8 and got 92 and then got us out of a great hole that we were in early in the game, to get us to a match-winning total was really important. But I think what is really important is that the guys who haven't been in their first two playing 11s are still putting a lot of pressure on with the way that they're training and the way they're going about it. That's a real positive for us. It's a way that keeps everyone on their toes that you have to keep performing game after game to keep guys out who have been in really good form when they had their chance, and also putting pressure on for the balance of the side, but also for them valuable spots.

Q. Finchy, next up India, big game. Do you think it's a match-up between your pacers and the Indian pacers?
AARON FINCH: Well, I think it's not just the pace bowling. Obviously both sides have had a bit of success with their spinners in the past couple of months in particular, so what it comes down to is execution. I think on a pretty good Oval surface that's going to be another used wicket, so the second time in three games that we've played on a used surface, it's going to come down to who executes. It's as simple as that. I think both teams have got very good world-class fast bowlers. Whether India played the two plus the all-rounder or go with an extra quick bowler, we're not sure. When you look at Bumrah, Bhuvi, Shami, Hardik, they're world-class bowlers, and then you go Starc, Cummins, Coulter-Nile, Behrendorff, Richardson. There's so many options there. So that's a good question. But I think it's just going to come down to early wickets. I think that's going to be a real key.

Q. Aaron, how much of a confidence does this Australian team carry, the way you played Chahal and Kohli in India and also the way you particularly played Kedar Jadhav. How much of that helps the Australian team going into tomorrow's match?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, I think winning them last three games is really important for us in India, to one, get some self belief that we can beat this Indian side in their home conditions. For that, I think when you look back, it comes down to taking them key moments in games and making sure that no matter what situation of the game or the series or the tournament, whenever you're playing India, you have to believe that you can beat them because they're a world-class side. They've got some all-time great players, no doubt about that. So to be able to beat them in their home conditions three times in a row was really important for the confidence of the side, especially going into a game like this.

Q. Bit of a scary incident just now. How is Dave after that, and can you tell us what happened and if it shook any of the players up?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, Dave was obviously pretty shaken up. The young guy seems to be in pretty good spirits at the moment. He's obviously been taken off to hospital and will continue to be assessed just to make sure that everything is okay. But yeah, Dave was pretty shaken up, no doubt. It was a decent hit to the head. Yeah, hopefully everything keeps going well for the youngster and he's back up and running shortly. Yeah, it was tough to watch.

Q. Finchy, it's a bit of a quirky one, I guess, but there's --
AARON FINCH: I wouldn't expect anything different from you.

Q. Three times in the tournament so far, the balls hit the stumps, but the bails haven't fallen off of them. It happened to Chris Gayle a few days ago. Are there any concerns it could cost the team a win?
AARON FINCH: I think you take the good with the bad in that situation. I suppose with the new -- the light-up stumps, the bails seem to be a lot heavier, so it does take a bit of a force. I've seen it a handful of times now in IPL and Big Bash and stuff where the ball rolls back onto the stumps, where the bails traditionally, one of them will pop off. But yeah, I think it's just one of those things that you are aware that when you're on the right side of it, you are aware of it a bit easier than when you're not.

Q. Just on the incident with the net bowler, is there anything around net safety that could be improved, kind of grounds all around the world? Is this something you've been concerned about before?
AARON FINCH: Well, it's quite rare that somebody gets hit, and it's obviously very unfortunate. The medical staff that were on hand, obviously our own medical staff, doctor and physio and also the medical staff, paramedics at the ground, did a great job in being there very quickly to assess and make sure that all the right protocols and right processes were put in place. Yeah, maybe -- it is a difficult one because you get some guys that are coming in and who probably aren't as well-equipped with their game to be able to deal with that.

That's a tough one. I don't really have a -- I haven't thought about it a hell of a lot to be honest. It's a tough one to answer.

Q. I think Jimmy Anderson has even talked about wearing helmets for the net bowlers. That probably wouldn't be a bad idea?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, that could be a decent idea. Again, it's a bit like everything; it's such a personal preference for net bowlers, and we're very lucky to have so many of them come in and want to bowl to us and help us prepare as best we can for the game. But I think it's going to be a personal preference, and like I said, it's lucky that there were so many good medical team on standby.

Q. What was the talk of the top order obviously following the -- approaching things differently if you lose early wickets or anything like that?
AARON FINCH: In reflection of last game?

Q. Yeah, in reflection after West Indies.
AARON FINCH: Well, the chat was around that we were probably -- we thought we were really well-prepared, but we probably just didn't stick to our game plan for long enough. I think guys individually had their own plans and own ways to play what we knew was coming, and sometimes it can be harder to play when you know it's coming. But at the end of the day, we just didn't commit to our plan for long enough.

We saw Steve had a really clear plan. He got under the bouncer until he tried to play one around in the 33rd over, I think, and hit it up in the air and nearly got caught. So then he just took that out of his game again and kept ducking under them, so that was a really good lesson to all our batters that the best player in the world stuck to his game plan for a long time and was successful and probably swallowed his pride a little bit in terms of having to put a shot away that you'd look to score heavily off in a one-day game. That was a really good lesson for our batters, to just keep sticking to it and have the courage to stick to your game plan for longer.

Q. How key is it getting Steve Smith and David Warner back?
AARON FINCH: Well, when you've got world-class players coming back into your side, it's unfortunate for the guys who have missed out and the guys that have played some really good one-day cricket in the past. But Steve is the best batter in the world in my opinion over all three forms of the game. I think that when you have David who's so destructive at the top of the order, his record shows how destructive he is. To have them to come back, yes, it's great for the side and our batting lineup and for experience in World Cups and great help for me as a leader, as well, in terms of tactics and stuff out on the field.

But I think we've always believed that we've got a side that can win the World Cup. Even when we didn't and we started this run of form or run of wins, I guess, from the third game in India, we still believed that we had the side then that could do it, and we feel as though this has just boosted that.

Q. Slight change of pace, Ronnie, amazing start to his coaching career. Do you think he's got what it takes to coach at international level, and can you talk through what his strengths are?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, absolutely. I think he definitely at some point in his career will coach an international team. The great strength of his -- the ability to communicate with every player in a list, thinks through every situation really well, doesn't make emotional decisions on anything, which I think is a huge plus as a coach, to be able to take that time to reflect and see what's best for the group in every decision that you make. He's tactical -- the tactical side of his coaching is second to none, and I think that he's as well-planned as a coach as I've ever seen. I've obviously known him a lot longer and dealt with him for a huge amount of time, so I'm a little bit biased in my opinions at times, as well, because he is such a great coach when it comes to all facets of the game.

Q. Rohit Sharma averages over 60 against Australia in One Days, Kohli over 50. They're obviously quality players and they're going to score runs, but is there anything you note from that or anything you try to do differently to try and stop them in this game and in the tournament?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, I think that you have to be right on from ball 1. I think when we've seen over the last -- having played in India so much recently, there's times when we probably let Virat get off to a bit of a flyer with being just a bit too straight to him or a bit too full or just letting him off the hook early, and we know once he gets into his innings he's so hard to stop, so you can't afford to play catch-up against great players, and Rohit is the same. When he's taking his time early in his innings, if you don't get him in that period it builds up and builds up, and he's so destructive when he decides to really start putting the pressure on you.

So I think you have to be right on from ball 1. You can't afford to give them freebies early on, and that goes for their whole order. You can't put too much focus just on two players because Shikhar Dhawan has had some good success against us, Dhoni we saw -- we found it tough to get him out in Australia. When we'd get India into a bit of trouble, he would dig them out of a hole and bat right to the end and bat really deep, and even the first two ODIs in India he was instrumental in getting them across the line in a couple of them.

You can't afford to weigh too much or put too much weight on one or the other in terms of your preparation and focus, so I think just the first 10, 15 balls you have to be right on. You have to make them try and take a risk to get a way to a flier and put the odds in your favour.

Q. They've got a fast bowler called Jasprit Bumrah. Are you putting in any sort of extra technical or mental preparation for facing him?
AARON FINCH: Not any extra. You do your due diligence on every bowler every game. He's a world-class bowler. He's had a lot of success, especially over the last 18, 24 months. I think all the guys are as well-prepared mentally and technically as they can be, and it's not about -- in-tournament play like this, it's too quick to be tinkering with technique and things like that in my opinion. Well, it is for me anyway. Some guys can do it really well and do it quickly. Steve Smith seems to change his technique every couple of balls at times, depending on what he's facing. That's just not a huge strength of mine, to be able to do that. I think it would be silly to try and go away from my game plan and try and change particular things in my game that add strength to my game, as well.

It will be just about sticking to my plan, sticking to what started to work at the back end of that Indian series and just be confident. As soon as you're not committed 100 per cent against these guys and particularly Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, as well, Shami, they're all world-class bowlers, spinners. It's too hard if you're not 100 per cent ready.

Q. Did you have a close look at Chahal during the South African match, and is there any kind of a plan, especially in the Oval wicket?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, he bowled very well against South Africa. Obviously he got some wickets early in his spell, which is a leg-spinner's dream. We all know that if you can deny leg-spinners wickets early, they start to go searching. I've never met a leg-spinner that doesn't.

It's about guys' individual plans. It's different strengths and weaknesses for every player. Again, like I talked about with Bumrah and Bhuvi and these guys, you can't afford to worry about somebody else's plan. You have to commit 100 per cent to what you're doing and be brave enough to stick to that regardless of what the outcome might be. Sometimes you wear the consequences of sticking to your game plan, but the majority of the time it'll work for you.

Q. Aaron, obviously you've got a huge amount of respect for the Indian players you're up against tomorrow, but would it be fair to say that in tournament play, this is a pretty good time for Australia to get India given you're on a roll, you won a really good game the other day, and India have only played one game in the tournament so far?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, I don't think you can read a huge amount into that. I think India, most of their players have come off an IPL preparation and still had their couple of warm-up games and no doubt would have been training as hard as they ever do. So there's never a time when you think that you've got one over them. It's all about on the day.

We saw in the latest series we played against them that regardless of what the score line might be, whoever turns us and produces their best on the day will win, no doubt about that. It's about everyone chipping in and contributing as best they can to help Australia win tomorrow.

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