Aaron Finch’s retirement from one-day international cricket is set to cause a bit of a stir as the Australian white-ball captain called for opening partner David Warner to succeed him as captain of the 50-over side.
Finch announced this morning that he was pulling the pin on his 50-over international career after his 146th match in the dead rubber third ODI against New Zealand in Cairns on Sunday.
However, he will continue as the T20 skipper, and will lead the nation ahead of the home T20 World Cup later this year.
Watch Australia v New Zealand. Every ODI Live & Exclusive to Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
But speaking to Triple M’s Deadset Legends on Saturday morning after announcing he was stepping down from the post, Finch threw a spanner in the works, seemingly endorsing Warner as his successor.
Warner is actually 21 days older than Finch and also has a lifetime captaincy ban handed down from Cricket Australia in the wake of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.
Ironically, the ball-tampering scandal was the catalyst for Finch to ascend to the white-ball captaincy, taking over from Steve Smith, who previously led Australia in all three formats.
Smith has already returned to the Test vice-captaincy and led Australia during the Adelaide Test last summer when Pat Cummins was sidelined as a Covid close contact.
Asked about his opening partner’s captaincy prospects, Finch said Warner would be a great option for Australia.
“I think CA are revisiting what that looks like,” Finch said. “He’s someone I’ve played under a few times for Australia when he’s had the opportunity to captain and he’s been fantastic.
“He’s an unbelievable tactical captain and someone who, at the time, everyone loved playing under. But I’m not sure what CA’s position is on it.
“Would I like to see it overturned? Absolutely. What he can offer not only now in that leadership space but going forward, for him to be able to coach and help the next generation of players coming through is going to be so important for Australian cricket.
“I think you do you time and he’s well and truly done that I think.”
For about the past year, discussions of overturning Warner’s ban have been a topic of discussion for players and administrators.
Late Australian cricket legend Shane Warne also questioned the ongoing ban after Smith became the vice-captain.
“With Sandpapergate back in South Africa a few years ago, how can the captain be allowed to take up another leadership role where a player like David Warner, who’s probably got the best cricket brain in the team, isn’t allowed to?” he said.
“If you’re going to ban a player but allow the captain to have another chance, it doesn’t make sense to me.
“I would’ve thought they’re either both available again, and we’ve all moved on, and we’ve put that in the past, and you can be captain or vice-captain again, or you can’t … I don’t think you can pick and choose one player or not.”
In June, Test skipper Cummins threw his support behind Warner, saying: “Fundamentally, banning someone for life I disagree with”.
“He’s a fantastic leader around our squad here. If he has a formal role, he’d be fantastic with that as well. So if that ever came up, he’d be great,” Cummins added.
Last December, his wife Candice told 2GB he’d rather captain a team in one of the lucrative overseas tournaments than play in the Big Bash.
She added in July this year: “I don’t like injustice so it does bother me,” she said.
“But it doesn’t really bother him because he can go and captain in the UAE, he can go and captain in India where people appreciate his cricketing brain and what he can bring to a team.”
Warner will play in the Big Bash this season, having signed a deal with the Sydney Thunder for a reported $70,000 a game.
The belief is the Thunder would like Warner as captain and will put pressure on Cricket Australia to overturn the leadership ban.
Warner is not the only player who could become the 50-over captain as the likes of Smith, wicketkeeper Alex Carey or Cummins could also be seen as options, while Glenn Maxwell has also been captain of his Melbourne Stars BBL team.