He has shot into the Aussie ranks quicker than most, and it’s not without reason. Aaron Finch is a talented, likeable young cricketer who has a massive future in the game. But the ‘Alan’ Finch story is an entertaining one, and I was next to him on a desperately ageing Qantas plane to Perth and spoke to him a little about his cricket.
Aaron is not your run of the mill, robotic cricketer that has come through the system. He is not the perfect athlete, and may have picked the wrong sport about 5 years ago. Why? I think he could have won the last Olympics as a track cyclist as he’s got a massive arse, and his legs would put most sprint cyclists to shame. But there would be one problem … Olympic cycling may not have liked him. He has a bit around the waist, thanks to a steady diet of ‘cans’ and ‘darts’ with his mates at the local.
Going through the system, rather than be a ‘Yes man’ like so many trying to ply their trade in Australian colours, Aaron has done it his own way. He has a refreshing ‘tell it like it is’ attitude, most likely developed from his time growing up in country Victoria. Recently, he had a run in with former teammate Nick Jewell who from all reports was ‘being a chop’. Finch told Jewell some home truths that no one else had the gall to say, Finch got whacked, but rather than punch back, ‘Alan’ stood his ground and kept firing back with only words. And I like that in a cricketer … a bit of niggle … someone with honesty, and who doesn’t mind picking a fight so long as it helps the cause.
I enjoyed a recent T20 game at the ‘G when Nesser from QLD bowled his first ball for the game. Finch smashed him for 4 and quickly walked down the track telling Nesser he was ‘going down today’. Seriously, how many times do you see that on TV these days? Not enough, and I love it.
Australian sport in general has become a bit of a nanny state – no one can have their own point of view, no one can have their own colour, no one can sledge or make comment in the media unless it’s promoting the next ‘big game’ or goodwill cause. My personal highlights of games are when things get nasty on the field, when feelings come into a game. Finch brings that feeling into every game he plays. He puts the fun back into cricket. After all, isn’t that what we play the game for?
Never one to back down, Aaron has always been the bad boy to the Victorian cricket administrators. Right or wrong, he’s the guy who was first pointed at by the coach if the entire team was out the night before the game. Apparently it was always Aaron’s fault. Maybe the finger was pointed at him because he always told the truth, rather than the standard practice of hiding away and blaming others.
However, you have not come to know Aaron because he is a good bloke. At the end of the day, it’s about his cricket, and oh how far he has come.
Aaron Finch has developed his game to become a shining light of Australian cricket youth. He is an outstanding team man, with knowledge of the game beyond his years. He has learned his craft under the best in the business in Hodge, McDonald, Shipperd, Hussey and White, and has been given ample opportunity to develop his game.
Victorian coach Greg Shipperd thinks so as well, picking up Aaron for $300k in the recent IPL auction for Delhi. While most would not look too much into this result, on face value Shipperd put a lot of money into buying an unproven cricketer on the big stage. Shipperd is a good judge of talent, and along with most who have seen him feel he has far bigger things to come.
Since the auction, Finch debuted for Australia, and whacked them everywhere. He looked un-nerved on the field, a confidence that he rightly developed over his last few seasons with Victoria. I ask him about his feelings in his first game, and fortunately he was shitting bricks like everyone else would.
How far will Aaron Finch go? Time will tell, but I’m tipping he won’t be playing much more for Victoria, instead donning the Australian colours in all forms of the game for years to come.
Yes, he drinks. Yes, he smokes. Yes, he blows bubbles with his gum when a bowler is running in to bowl. Yes he picks a fight with his quick mouth on the field. But he’s a damn fine cricketer and will always be one of the first picked in my team.