Aaron Finch insists there should be no reason why Steven Smith or David Warner can’t replace him as Australia’s ODI skipper, adamant the scars of sandpaper-gate have long healed.
Finch’s announcement of his retirement from the 50-over format has again put leadership back on the agenda, with Cricket Australia on the search for another captain before next year’s ODI World Cup.
Officials opted to hand back some leadership responsibilities to Smith last summer, when they made him new skipper Pat Cummins’ deputy for the Test team. But from that moment it was clear another long-term captaincy call was only just around the corner.
In the press conference where his Test appointment was announced, Cummins made it clear he had no interest in leading Australia’s white-ball teams as well. Finch said he believed Cummins could juggle multiple roles, but the fact the fast bowler has missed 28 of 65 ODIs since the start of 2018 suggests he would be an unlikely option.
Beyond him, Alex Carey would loom as another candidate, having previously held the vice-captaincy in the one-day team and stood in for Finch last year. However the fact he is not part of the T20 team suggests Australia will ultimately need three separate captains when Finch eventually retires from that format.
Mitchell Marsh and Adam Zampa could also be potential ODI skippers, with selectors having two months before Australia’s next match in the format after Sunday’s finale against New Zealand.
None however have the experience of Smith, who captained all formats before the 2018 ball-tampering scandal and was still helping set fields on his return.
Finch said he had no preference but could not see why the Cape Town 2018 saga should stand in Smith’s way, believing he still had several years ahead of him.
“I don’t think [it would be an issue],” Finch said. “He captained a Test match in Adelaide after Pat was out with Covid. “So I think that’s all been put to bed.”
Warner would present a different issue for CA. He still has a lifetime leadership ban from the scandal, but there has been every indication recently that could be reviewed after Warner signed up for the BBL. Last month Warner said “it would be great” to have a conversation with the board.
Finch revealed he was of the view the ban should be lifted, and that his opening partner would be a sound option.
“He [Warner] is someone I have played under a few times for Australia when he has had the opportunity to captain,” Finch said on Triple M. “He has been fantastic. He is an unbelievable tactical captain and someone at the time the lads loved playing under.
“Would I like to see [his ban] overturned? Yeah, absolutely. What he can offer not just now as a player but going forward for him to be able to coach and help the next generation of players coming through is so important. You do your time, and he has well and truly done that.”