Ever since his world record 156 off 63 balls in a T20I against England at Rose Bowl last year, Aaron Finch has become Australia’s big hope in limited-overs cricket. The knock helped him become a regular for his national team in the shorter formats, but the same cannot be said about his previous outings as an IPL player. But all that has changed this season with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Speaking to The Indian Express, Finch explains just how much can change when a little confidence is shown in a player. Excerpts.
How much confidence did the 88* against the Delhi Daredevils give you, considering it couldn’t have been easy on such slow pitches?
* Indeed. It was important for me to score runs and provide some impetus upfront and also it was important for us as a team to put up a performance. We haven’t started off well but it can happen in T20 cricket. We’ve got the quality to bounce back.
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Unlike with Australia, David Warner is not opening along with you for Hyderabad. Will the team be better off with Shikhar Dhawan at No. 3?
* I don’t think it’s a problem. Shikhar has played exceptionally well for India in all formats last year. He’s a fantastic batsman and I don’t have any problems in opening with him. Warner is batting at No. 3, so in any case he’s coming in early.
How well do you and Warner complement each other at the crease?
* Very well. We’ve played a lot of cricket together. In fact, we’ve been playing together for the last 13-14 years. We know each other’s game exceedingly well. He, too, is a destructive batsman like me and together we can put any opposition under pressure.
Considering you began as a middle-order batsman, did you find it difficult initially when you were promoted to the opener’s slot?
* I adjusted well, because I didn’t have to change my natural style. I remained aggressive and have had the licence to play my shots ever since.
Apart from making you a first team regular, how else did that landmark 156 versus England change your life?
* It’s always feels nice to score big in international cricket. I played a couple of good knocks for Australia in ODIs before that as well. But that 156 in Southampton gave me the belief that I can play big innings and make match-winning contributions at the international level. It gave me a lot of confidence.
We have now seen you settle into two formats. Is Test cricket on the cards?
* I’m working very hard to get there. Test cricket is my first choice.
You’ve played under both Michael Clarke and George Bailey. How do you compare the two as captains?
* Both are excellent captains. One thing I love about Michael is the way he creates a relaxed atmosphere in the camp. His method allows you to relax and you hardly feel any pressure. As for George, I’m a fan. He always comes up with simple game plans and likes to keep things easy.
How much have you benefited from Darren Lehmann’s appointment as coach?
* Immensely. I had always been on the fringes. He gave me the confidence which helped me reach the next level.
Coming back to the IPL, you played for Delhi and Pune before joining Hyderabad. How would you compare this experience from the previous ones?
* Here, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, I’m a regular in the playing XI. And when you’re assured of a starting berth, you play with confidence and play a lot better.