How Finch spent two years moulding Test technique
A MINOR change in technique has done wonders for Aaron Finch in helping him translate white-ball prowess into a flying start to his Test career for Australia.
The powerful Victorian enjoyed a Test debut to remember in Dubai, making scores of 62 and 49 and combining superbly with opening partner Usman Khawaja as Australia fought from behind to claim a famous draw against Pakistan.
Few players have been more destructive in the shorter forms of the game than Finch, who beat his own record earlier this year for the highest score in a T20 international when he blasted an astonishing 172 of 76 balls against Zimbabwe.
But until earning a call-up to the UAE, Finch had been pigeon-holed as a white-ball specialist despite an improved recent record in first-class cricket.
The right-hander shed seven kilograms during a brutal off-season and has also made minor tweaks to his game including putting greater focus on playing with a straight bat.
"It's probably something I've looked to change over the last two years," Finch said.
"I tended to lock off a little bit and play around my front pad. So it's just been a really conscious effort to keep my weight going forward down the wicket, full face, bat slightly in front of pad. Which is a small technical change but it's helped my game a lot.
"It's given me a little bit more comfort playing on the front foot, just staying over the ball and being a little bit more smooth in my defence and my attack. It's something that I have worked very hard on with (batting coach) Graeme Hick. It was nice that it started off well in the first Test."
The 31-year-old Finch said the decision to slim down had been made partly with an eye towards preventing a repeat of his calf and hamstring injuries.
No Australian had made more limited-over international appearances before making their Test debut than Finch, who revealed he had been encouraged by former national coach Darren Lehmann not to give up on his red-ball dreams.
"I'd had a few chats with Boof about that," Finch said in Abu Dhabi ahead of the second Test.
"He always kept reassuring me, even when you're at IPL and in county cricket when you're just playing the T20s, he was always saying 'don't neglect your four-day game, don't forget to work on the things we've talked about technically because there might be an opportunity come up.' 'You're a good player, keep scoring runs', basically. So that does give you a lot of confidence."
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