Ricky Ponting has backed Aaron Finch to lead the Australian defence at this year’s World Cup in England and Wales. Finch, who led Australia to a remarkable series win against India, had an indifferent series with the bat. With the likes of Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb showing good form and the impending return of David Warner and former skipper Steve Smith, Australian selectors will have a tough choice ahead of the tournament.
But the former World Cup-winning captain was clear in his choice. “He’s been Australia’s best performed one-day batsman in the last couple of seasons. He’s made more hundreds than anybody else,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“Although he’s recently gone through a real tough time, if he can get through the other side of that before the World Cup, it could be – as hard as it sounds on him – it almost could be perfect timing,” the 44-year-old added.
“He’d rather be going through that now than going through that at the start of the World Cup and having your captain completely out of form going through an entire World Cup,” he said.
Analysing Finch’s captaincy, Ponting said, “His captaincy, from what I’ve seen in the last few months even though he hasn’t been batting that well, has looked really sharp and he’s going to have a great squad of players.”
“He’s the man, for me, to captain Australia throughout hopefully a successful World Cup campaign.”
Ponting, who won two World Cups as captain, complimented Finch’s tactical acumen and said, “Tactically what I’ve seen, he’s looked sharp,” he said.
“It’s always a challenge (for) the captain, if you’re not going well yourself, to not let anybody know that it’s affecting you. It always affects you as a player when you’re having a bad trot, but the best leaders that I’ve ever seen have been the guys that haven’t got too high when they’ve been going too well, and haven’t got too low when they’ve been going poorly,” Ponting explained.
“They’re pretty neutral sort of people, have been the best leaders in business or sports that I’ve seen and that’ll be something that Finchy probably does have to learn a little bit about. I’m sure he’s learning a lot about himself every day.”
“But I’m also pretty aware that he will know that he’s got all of his mates behind him, wanting him to do really well and wanting him to start making big runs again at the top of the order,” he concluded.