Aaron Finch, Australia’s limited-overs captain, said that Alex Carey and Pat Cummins are capable leaders and would do a good job captaining the side should he not recover in time for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka at home.
Australia kickstart their home summer with a T20 at the Adelaide Oval on 27 October, and Finch, who is still recovering from a side strain, isn’t a lock in the XI yet. Should he not recover, the 28-year-old Carey, who keeps wickets for South Australia and has made a huge impact in a short international career so far, is most likely to take over the reins.
Finch’s view is in line with that of the Trevor Hohns-led selection committee, who too have earmarked Carey as a future leader. "The two guys who are vice-captains, Alex and Patto, both are well-placed to do it. Everyone who's involved with the leadership group is across a lot of things. They'll have no issues stepping in if need be," Finch said. "I don't think it's going to be a long-term injury. I'm feeling better and better every day. It'll be a case of having a hit today, assessing how it goes, having a hit tomorrow and keep reassessing each day.”
Finch said that the injury became apparent only following a later diagnosis, after it was initially thought to be a recurrence of the back spasm he suffered at the end of the Big Bash League last summer. The side strain, he said, was in addition to the existing issues with his back, but shouldn't hold him back from Sunday’s opener.
"Probably a little bit of a later diagnosis than what we first thought it was, a bit of a back spasm. It sort of started to get better and then I felt a bit of a twinge in my side," he said. "Just a little tear there, not a hell of a lot. So I still think I'll be fine on Sunday.
"The back was the same thing [as the injury suffered at the end of the BBL]. The side is something that's totally new. Sitting down for a couple of days in that Shield game at the Junction Oval and then coming out and trying to swing a bit too hard. It wasn't one [shot] in particular. Could have been a number. I went pretty hard."
In preparation for next year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at home, Australia have a long list of three-match series lined up, starting with the assignment against Sri Lanka. That will be followed by series of similar length against Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and England, giving Finch’s team 15 games over the next 12 months to tune up for the marquee 20-over event.
"That [the T20I-heavy schedule] is probably the first step, having that continuity of selection in the T20 format. We've probably not had that in the past," he said. "It's been a process of managing players off the back of Test series or high workload tours. It's going to be exciting to be able to have a similar squad over the next 12 months to two years, with the two T20 World Cups back-to-back.
"I don't think it's going to be a long-term injury. I'm feeling better and better every day. It'll be a case of having a hit today, assessing how it goes, having a hit tomorrow and keep reassessing each day.”
"We know what style we want to go with over the next 12 months. That makes it a bit clearer to be able to map out how you go about that. I expect it to be a little bit smoother. Obviously, with form and injury, the personnel can change. But the 14 guys we have got here, that's the plan to move forward with. Over the next 12 months and leading up to that World Cup, to have that solid base of 14-16 players that can take us into that tournament.
"It's about having specific guys for the roles as well. Ashton Agar is in there as the spinning all-rounder. If we do decide to play two spinners, we've still got the option of three genuine quicks. If we go without the leg-spinner, then we still have four genuine quicks as well. It's just a bit of a change of mind-set of balancing up our team. It's still going to be a case of managing players through workloads at various points. All in all, we want to win as many games as we can and create a style and culture, around the group, of winning T20Is."
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