Two-time ICC World Cup-winner Shane Watson is adamant Australia must stick with Aaron Finch as their captain for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup and believes young all-rounder Cameron Green should only feature at the tournament if an injury occurs to a key player.
Watson is renowned as one of Australia's best white-ball players of all time and the 41-year-old famously helped his country to success at the 2007 ICC World Cup in the West Indies and then again eight years later on home soil.
The Australian star was led by some legendary captains during his illustrious international career, with fellow greats Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke in charge of those two World Cup triumphs and also playing a key role in the overall success of the team.
Similarly, Watson has declared Finch's role in the current side as being just as important and says the out of form opener must be persisted with, despite a recent glut of low scores.
Finch has managed just two T20I innings of greater than 50 since last year's ICC T20 World Cup and recently stepped down from his position as ODI captain and retired from the format in order to concentrate on the upcoming T20 tournament.
But Watson believes Finch's value to the team extends way beyond his runs at the top of the order and he thinks the veteran right-hander must remain in Australia’s first choice XI.
"Finch is such an incredibly important part of this Australian team being the captain," Watson told host Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
"He has been given the full support of the selectors and coach as well. So for me, everyone’s got their fingers crossed that it’s all able to click for him during this T20 World Cup because, firstly, it is such an important role that he plays in the Powerplay opening the batting and, secondly, as a leader, as the captain making decisions under pressure.
"It’s very important that there is no innuendo or pressure around him in terms of his position in the team … from an Australian point of view, I’ve got my fingers crossed that he will be fit and firing."
Teams have up until October 9 to tinker with their final squads for the upcoming tournament and Australia take on the West Indies in a two-match series in Queensland prior to that final cut-off date.
Finch will get the opportunity to find some form during those two matches, while Cameron Green may also get another opportunity to show his wares at the top of the order, after he was included in Australia's 16-player squad to face the Caribbean side.
Watson is a huge fan of Green and has admired the emerging all-rounder for some time, but believes the 23-year-old should only feature at the T20 World Cup if injury strikes a key player prior to or during the event.
"The only time I think he should be coming into the squad is if someone gets injured or they don’t recover from their injury,” Watson noted.
"Marcus Stoinis, if he doesn’t recover fully from his injury or Mitchell Marsh for example, if they don’t recover from their niggles that they’ve had in the lead-up to this T20 World Cup, then absolutely (Green is) the first one picked."
Watson thinks the players that did such a good job in delivering Australia their first T20 World Cup title in Dubai last year deserve the chance to defend the trophy they won on home soil.
"The way the squad performed so well in the last T20 World Cup, there’s no weak links," he said.
"You have to give the players who were so dominant in the last T20 World Cup the first opportunity to be able to play in this T20 World Cup at home.
"It’s unfortunate from Cam Green’s perspective because he is certainly good enough to be given a chance to play in that Australian team, but I’d definitely give the players who did a great job in the last T20 World Cup the first opportunity and the opportunity to play this World Cup at home, because there’s no weak links in that Aussie team."
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