Ricky Ponting wants Aaron Finch to open in first Test; Khawaja at No.3

Ricky Ponting wants Aaron Finch to open in first Test; Khawaja at No.3

Ponting said Finch has had success while opening in the T20Is and ODIs and if he went about with a similar mindset to open in Tests, he would succeed against the red ball as well.

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

One of Australia’s greatest captains Ricky Ponting has advised the team to go with Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris as openers in the first Test against India starting at the Adelaide Oval on December 6 and push Usman Khawaja, the other opener, to No.3. Though Finch, captain of Australia’s limited-overs teams, will bat down the order for home state Victoria in the upcoming Sheffield Shield match. Ponting wants him to open for his side in that match to get the right practice ahead of the first Test.

Finch played as the opener along with Khawaja in his debut Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last month and scored 181 runs with one fifty at an average of 45.25. The 32-year-old batsman has not been in good form since that series and has not scored a single half-century in any of the limited-over matches he played after the conclusion of the second Test against Pakistan.

“Victoria don’t want to break up their opening partnership – I think they should for Aaron Finch’s benefit. I think they should let him open for one game and slide Travis Dean down. Just to give him red ball (practice) opening the batting before he goes into the Test match,” Ponting, who led Australia in 77 Tests and won 48 of them, was quoted by cricket.com.au as saying.

“If the coach asked Aaron Finch where he’d rather bat, I’m sure he’d say he’d want to open. Finch is a bit of an anomaly really that the last few years he’s done most of his batting for Victoria in the middle order. Then because they go to the UAE where conditions probably weren’t going to be that new-ball friendly they gave him the chance to open. So he deserves to stay in the team and open,” he added.

Finch himself said recently that he is open to play at any position in the batting order and felt the opening pair of Harris and Dean was doing a good job for Victoria. Young opener Harris got his maiden call in the national team over a very good form in domestic cricket (437 runs in four Shield games this season at an average of 87).

Ponting advises Finch

Ponting said Finch has had success while opening in the T20Is and ODIs and if he went about with a similar mindset to open in Tests, he would succeed against the red ball as well.

Ponting has also backed the Marsh brothers, Travis Head and captain Tim Paine in the middle-order followed by Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.

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