March 2, 2021

Finch: Australia hold no World Cup scars

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Watch the first T20 international between England and Australia, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 5.30pm on Friday

By PA Sport

Last Updated: 03/09/20 1:54pm

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Aaron Finch says England and Australia won’t be taking a knee for BLM before their games, with ‘education more important than protest’

Aaron Finch says England and Australia won’t be taking a knee for BLM before their games, with ‘education more important than protest’

Aaron Finch insists Australia have no scars after last year’s World Cup semi-final defeat to England ahead of this summer’s white-ball series between the teams.

Eoin Morgan’s men triumphed by eight wickets after dismissing their rivals for 223 at Edgbaston en route to becoming world champions on home turf in 2019.

Australia and England will renew acquaintances on Friday, with three T20 matches at the Ageas Bowl – starting on Friday, at 5.30pm on Sky Sports Cricket – followed by three one-day internationals at Emirates Old Trafford.

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“Looking back to that game, we didn’t get enough runs. We were three down early with the bat and always chasing our tail,” Finch said.

“When you have a quality side, well the best in the world, chasing a small total and with how aggressive they are, you need early wickets and they blew us out of the water.

Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch, pictured during his side's World Cup semi-final defeat to England in 2019 Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch, pictured during his side's World Cup semi-final defeat to England in 2019

Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch, pictured during his side’s World Cup semi-final defeat to England in 2019

“It was a tough day but it is a different format and we are not holding any scars over that, I can guarantee that in T20 cricket.”

Friday’s match in the shortest format will be Australia’s first competitive fixture since March when the coronavirus pandemic forced their white-ball series with New Zealand to be called off.

During the enforced break, Finch revealed plans to win back the World Cup in 2023 stepped up a notch with no cricket to focus on.

England captain Morgan repeatedly spoke about the importance of a four-year cycle put in place after the current world champions had disappointed in the 2015 edition and Australia are eager to follow a similar template.

Finch added: “I think the long play is honestly really important and something we have been sitting down and planning over the last few months.

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We say goodbye to Pakistan and a big hello to Australia as England get ready to face the Aussies in a three-match T20I series, starting Friday

We say goodbye to Pakistan and a big hello to Australia as England get ready to face the Aussies in a three-match T20I series, starting Friday

“Probably what the Covid break did for Australian cricket was give us the chance to sit back and look at everything as a whole and dissect that.

“When you move from series to series, you almost focus on the results a lot more so to take the results out and sit back and assess everything leading up to the 2023 World Cup and work back from that date gives us a really clear plan on the direction we want the one-day team to go.

“I think we have done the planning really well in T20s over the last couple of years, obviously with that meant to have gone ahead around this time, but the 50-over one we feel we have a clear direction both with personnel and strategy.”

Australia would have been set to host the T20 World Cup next month had the coronavirus pandemic not taken over and that will now take place in two years’ time, with India to host the 2021 T20 World Cup like originally planned.

Preparations for that tournament officially get under way on Friday when Finch’s Australia, currently ranked the No 1 side in the world in T20 cricket, take on second-placed England.

Marnus Labuschagne is unlikely to play the first T20I on Friday, despite hitting a hundred in a warm-up match Marnus Labuschagne is unlikely to play the first T20I on Friday, despite hitting a hundred in a warm-up match

Marnus Labuschagne is unlikely to play the first T20I on Friday, despite hitting a hundred in a warm-up match

One player who may not be involved for Australia is Marnus Labuschagne despite a 51-ball century in the final intra-squad match on Tuesday.

“We are pretty settled on the way we structure our T20 side at the moment, he played nicely the other day, but I think he might have to wait a little bit longer in T20 cricket,” Finch said.

Australia’s captain also confirmed the team would not take a knee on Friday in the first match the country have played since the Black Lives Matter movement took centre stage after George Floyd’s death in May.

“I have spoken to Eoin, we are not going to do a specific gesture like has happened in the past,” Finch said.

“We are really proud to play a game where it is celebrated all around the world and anyone can play it, it doesn’t matter what race, religion or nationality.

“Cricket is a game for everyone and I am really proud about that, but also the education is far more important than the protest.”

Watch the first T20I between England and Australia live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 5.30pm on Friday.