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ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP

June 11, 2019

Aaron Finch

Taunton, England, UK

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Aaron Finch.

Q. Aaron, in the lead-up to this tournament, you beat Pakistan 5-nil in the UAE, but you've seen them losing poorly to West Indies in this World Cup and then beating England. How do you rate Pakistan in the context of the World Cup? And two of the games have already been washed out in this tournament, more might -- more for the weather tomorrow; it does not looking good either. So what sort of role do you think the weather can play in the outcome of the last four teams?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, I think Pakistan are obviously a very dangerous side. We've seen consistently throughout, especially ICC tournaments, that they win a lot of games and they get themselves in a position to win the tournament. And they had a great Champions Trophy. So regardless of what kind of form Pakistan go in with, they're always incredibly dangerous.

They've got some world-class players. Obviously Babar is in great touch batting at No. 3 and holding their batting together. But also they've got some world class bowlers. Amir coming back and he looks to be back to his best. He's swinging the ball again. Wahab has been fast and aggressive. Shadab is a great bowler. Hassan had a great Champions Trophy as well.

When you look down their side there's no player that you can disregard. They've got a lot of experience on their side. They've got a lot of match winners. Every time you come up against Pakistan you have to play your best to beat them.

And on the weather, I think it might play a huge part in the next few days, I think. Next week it starts fine up and looks good across the country for the remainder of the tournament.

But it's important that you get early wins on the board because if they do play a part you don't want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that might leave you just outside that top four.

Q. Can you do anything tactically to prepare for a game that might not go the full distance? There's a good chance tomorrow if you get on it could be a 20-over game, 25-over game if that?
AARON FINCH: You just have to make sure you're as well prepared as you can be. You never bank on rain or anything like that. You always prepare for the full 50-overs and then you work on the spot.

Your team might change if it's a really delayed start or something like that. Everyone just has to be prepared to shuffle their roles around. And be really adaptable and that's one thing we've been really, really clear with the players that we want everyone to be adaptable and be ready to go at any situation. If you change the batting order, everyone would be called upon to bowl. So you always prepare as well as you can for the full 50, and if it changes it's just a daily thing.

Q. Speaking of the team, I assume you haven't got one ready for tomorrow at the moment?
AARON FINCH: Haven't got one yet for you.

Q. We've seen David Warner score two of his lowest 50s in this tournament, is he sort of still finding his feet, or is it a team plan for him to set a stall and play out the whole innings?
AARON FINCH: It's not a team plan. I think the last couple of games, the last game in particular, India bowled really well at the start and he hit the field a lot, which as an opening batter, as a top order player when the field is in that you do generally face a high percentage of top bowlers. And I suppose when the field went out he still hit them fielders, which didn't give the innings a huge amount of flow, which I know he was disappointed about.

But at the same time every evidence suggests he'll be back to his dangerous best. And when you give good players an opportunity -- and might be just a little mindset change with Davey, I'm not sure; I haven't spoke to him a huge amount about his batting. I know he's been working a bit with J.L. and Ponter to just make sure he's in the right mind frame.

But he's playing nicely. The first game against Afghanistan they bowled well to him and he just couldn't get away. Remember, he was out of the game for 14 months. And at the international level, regardless of how good a player you are, it's just going to take a little bit of time, especially as an opening batter, to find your feet, find the pace of the game again.

Q. He looked completely different in the T20s and the IPL. Is it that different, too, coming and playing OTA?
AARON FINCH: It's slightly different obviously, and totally different wickets. You have to remember that Indian wickets are quite low and quite skitty with the new ball, which allowed him to use his hands and stand really still and hit the gaps; whereas, there's been just enough in these wickets first up that it doesn't allow you to just walk out and hit through the line and blast attacks all over. And you're talking about world-class opposition here.

You're not playing a club team, where you can find one target and target them really hard. Each team is super strong. So at times it's about taking calculated risks to get your innings and get your momentum in your game. So he's still batting beautifully at the moment. He just hasn't got off to that flow that we're used to.

Q. With the wickets, they've been different from the start of this start from what you were playing in OTA cricket before?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, coming from the subcontinent, obviously, it's very different. I think there's just been enough rain around and enough for the wickets to have a little bit in them. And there's a couple times where we've used a used wicket which we probably didn't take too much of an account for in the planning, the last game, and the one at Trent Bridge were both used wickets.

And this one's a fresh one. I'm not sure what it's going to play like, but there's been enough there for the bowlers. If you bowl well with a new ball, but there's also been some good tracks around as well.

Q. The average over 100 against Pakistan in the recent series, four scores over 50, completely different environment, I know, but what can you take from that into tomorrow?
AARON FINCH: Huge amount of confidence. I felt the way that I played in that series against Pakistan was really pleasing, especially in a couple of big run chases, 280-plus, a charger, to be able to bat really deep, especially in that second game and get a nought out to get us over the line was, I think, was something that I was happy with myself about because it's an area that I hadn't really done in the past.

Otherwise, if I've got 100, I've got out not long after especially in a run-chase. So it's going to be a totally different attack. I'm also well aware of that. There was no -- I mean, it was Amir for the first game. He didn't play the other four. There was no Shadab, no Hassan Ali or Wahab. So it's a totally different attack but it still gives you a lot of confidence going into a game.

Q. You mentioned about the weather potentially playing an impact on selection. In terms of Adam Zampa and the leg spinner, it can be hard to play a leg spinner when it's wet. Would he be the one that might be able to make a way?
AARON FINCH: We're just not sure at the moment. Marcus Stoinis has a bit of a side strain. He won't be available for, especially for tomorrow. So we're going to have to juggle around especially that all-arounder spot. So we've got Mitch Marsh flying over just as a bit of a precaution. He was meant to fly over with the Australia A side on Friday. He's just coming a couple days early as a bit of precaution, if Stoinis doesn't recover quick enough or doesn't respond to treatment well enough over the next few days.

So that's also something we've got to juggle with. We've got to find a few more overs now, whether we play the extra batter or extra bowler, we'll wait and see, and especially tomorrow with the conditions.

Q. What have you made of the effectiveness of the bails being used in the tournament; we've seen the ball hit the stumps five times now; the bails not dislodge. Do you think the tournament has a problem?
AARON FINCH: I think it's a tough one to say because they never are going to change the stumps mid-tournament anyway. So I think it just comes down to a bit of potluck at times with -- if you're on the receiving end or the good end of it.

So we were obviously on the right end of it last game the one that Davey rolled back onto the stumps early on. The fact it's happening more and more, I don't know how much heavier the bails are or if anything can be done about it. It's just one of those things.

Q. Can you just clarify with Marcus Stoinis, when did he suffer that injury and how many games do you expect him to miss?
AARON FINCH: Not exactly sure on how many games he'll miss. That's why Mitch is flying over. It's still being assessed. And over the next couple of days we'll have a clearer picture on what that looks like. And also I think it was about his fifth or sixth over the other day. So it was towards the back end of his second spell, and he came back and bowled two overs at the depth.

He was in some discomfort. And it wasn't ideal, but he still managed to bowl a couple of overs. And speaking to guys who have done a side before, I say you can generally get through a game towards the end, but it's tough to get going after you've cooled down.

Q. Just in terms of the structure of the side -- obviously he's not a (indiscernible), there's no lack for replacement -- how does that affect the structure of your team?
AARON FINCH: Like I said before, it's just about trying to weigh up whether we go with the extra batter, insure Marsh tomorrow, or we go with a extra bowler and play Alex Carey at 6.

It's one of those things we'll have to weigh up and have a look and have a think about it this afternoon and come up with what looks like the best 11 to beat Pakistan.

Q. Just on a completely different note, it's been a long, long time since Australia has played in Pakistan. We've seen a couple teams start going back there recently. I know it's far above your pay grade to say whether that will happen for Australia. How important is it for world cricket would you say we do see teams start going back to Pakistan for the sport in that country?
AARON FINCH: I think it's a great question. And the fans that travel, that support Pakistan are so passionate, we see. When the Pakistan Super League was played there, the fans are selling out grounds in minutes.

And from all reports, the guys who played there said it was an amazing time to play cricket in Pakistan, just for them to have cricket back in their home country where there's so much love and passion for the game is incredible. So like you said, it's well above my decision-making whether to decide whether the team should go back and whether it's safe enough.

So I'm sure that all countries and the ICC and everyone involved is doing their due diligence in making sure that security and everything is looked at to make sure that when cricket is ready to go back to Pakistan. And I'd love to play there. No doubt.

It's such a wonderful country to -- you hear of stories of guys who played there in the past that said how amazing it is to play there and then similarly to India with the passion of their fans and the crowds, when it's ready it will happen. And that's going to come down to individual boards and the ICC and all the right people making the decisions.

Q. How have you reflected on the actions and the comments of Virat Kohli the other day about Steve Smith, has it been something you've spoken about, and what kind of reception do you think Steve may get tomorrow?
AARON FINCH: When he was -- when Virat was batting? It was all class, wasn't it? He does a lot of great things for the game Virat. And obviously Steve and Dave have been copping their fair share from the crowd.

It was great to see such an influential player standing up for what he believes is right. And it was great to see. It was a nice touch. Regardless of whether they get booed or cheered, that doesn't faze them too much. I know talking to them, it's a part of the game, unfortunately, that's going to keep coming up. So sometimes it's best just not to poke the bear, but we know it's going to happen.

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