SOME are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. Such is the eternal universality of Shakespeare’s insights that Malvolio’s musings in Twelfth Night could easily apply to the Australian captaincy instead.
If that was the case then Aaron Finch would certainly fall into the third of those categories. Incidentally, Malvolio’s preceding line is “be not afraid of greatness” and that neatly epitomises Finch’s attitude after having the role thrust upon him last November following Steve Smith’s year-long ban and the struggles of his immediate successor Tim Paine.
The 32-year-old went from simply focusing on making runs and solidifying his own place in the side to being responsible for the fortunes of the entire team, in addition to incurring all the extra off-field duties that come with being skipper. Coincidentally or otherwise, his batting initially suffered — an average of 11.86 during his first seven ODIs in the role led to uncomfortable questions about his selection — but since then he’s been totemic atop the order. Amassing 1,104 runs in 16 ODIs, with four centuries and an average of 73.60, Finch is hitting white-hot form at just the right time.
And he only seems to be getting hotter as this World Cup progresses, plundering 496 runs so far — a total only surpassed by his opening partner David Warner — with a pair of centuries. And what about his leadership style? “When I first started in leadership roles I was quite young,” explained Finch in his press conference prior to the England match as quoted by the ICC.
“From doing it about eight years ago, with the Melbourne Renegades, to now, I’ve changed a lot. I don’t tend to talk as much in team meetings.” Australia’s success at this World Cup is largely down to the displays of the incredibly talented individuals they possess but there’s also togetherness in the squad seeing them through. “It’s a bit more than wins and losses in a leadership role,” he added. “It’s about making sure that you’re creating a great environment for everyone to succeed in. So to have guys come in and be really comfortable around the team, straight away is a big positive for myself and all involved.”