Matthew Wade has no doubt captain Aaron Finch and David Warner will be Australia’s opening combination for their T20 World Cup title defence later this year despite questions surrounding Finch’s form after a lean series against Sri Lanka.
Australia lost the final T20I at the MCG but claimed the series 4-1 overall. However, Finch made just 78 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 91.76. In his last 17 T20I innings he has reached fifty just once and has nine single-figure scores with a strike rate of just 111.
Australia had won their maiden ICC T20 World Cup title under Finch in the UAE last year, but with the white-ball captain going through a lean patch for quite some time now there is considerable unease in the team with the showpiece event less than eight months away.
The 35-year-old Finch could manage just 78 runs from five innings during Australia’s 4-1 T20I series win against Sri Lanka, with the experienced right-hander struggling to find the middle of the bat. He managed just eight runs in the final game against the Islanders as Australia lost by five wickets on Sunday night.
But Matthew Wade pointed to the lean run of form opener David Warner experienced in the lead-up to the most recent T20 World Cup in the UAE and believes Finch will be able to follow suit later this year on home soil.
“It feels like these questions have come before the last World Cup and after the first couple of games about David,” Wade was quoted as saying by ICC after Australia’s five-wicket loss to Sri Lanka at the MCG.
“Everyone had their say about Davey (Warner) and he got player of the tournament in the (T20) World Cup (in the UAE). Finchy’s a class player and I’ve heard people questioning where he’s at. He averages (close to) 40 and strikes at 140 for a reason. He’s a class player and he’s the captain of our team.
“The questions are always going to come when you get a little bit older and you don’t do well in one series. But they (Finch and Warner) are class players for a reason and the best we’ve had in T20 cricket ever,” said Matthew Wade.
“I don’t expect any change at the top of the order to be honest. Those two will be there in the World Cup, I’m confident in that and when the big game comes, they will nail it.”
Matthew Wade contributed an unbeaten 43 for Australia at the MCG on Sunday, his best effort of the five-game series that Australia claimed 4-1. It was just the third time in the series that Wade was needed with the willow and the 34-year-old knows he needs to make the most of his limited opportunities in the middle order alongside the likes of allrounders Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Agar.
“It was nice to get a hit. I know the role I’m playing now within this team. I know that opportunities aren’t going to come thick and fast. It was the same in the World Cup. It’s going to be the same in the next few series as well,” said Matthew Wade.
“The position that I’m going to play dictates that I’ll just go there and take the opportunity that I can.
“I feel really confident in what we’re doing down there. I feel backed by the coaching staff and the selectors that there’s going to be a real opportunity down there for myself and Marcus to kind of form that partnership that we’re looking for when the big games come around. Opportunities might not swing my way over the next little bit. But when I get an opportunity I feel confident that the whole team behind me.”