Dropping out-of-form captain Aaron Finch before the T20 World Cup would cause “chaos”, according to former skipper Michael Clarke.
And despite making a second-consecutive duck against New Zealand on Thursday to continue a calamitous run of form, Test captain Pat Cummins said Finch had “lost none of his aura”.
Finch became the first Australian to make five ODI ducks in a calendar year, and amid growing calls for selectors to make a decision on his spot, Clarke said it was too late to withdraw him from the T20 World Cup squad ahead of Australia’s title defence beginning in October.
“It’s a tough time to change your captain a month out before the World Cup,” Clarke told the Big Sports Breakfast on Friday
“I think the selectors are hoping he can get a score and then he goes into that World Cup with confidence, we keep our structure and our plan for the World Cup and we dominate that and have success here in Australia.
“He needs runs, there is no doubt about it … you can’t drop Finchy out of the World Cup squad now that it has been selected. I’m assuming they’re looking at the one-day cricket different to the Twenty-20, so even if he makes no runs in this last one-dayer, that might be the end of his one-day career, but I think they’ll certainly still start with him in the Twenty-20 World Cup.
“It’s a massive call to drop your captain a month out from a World Cup. I think that could cause more chaos.”
Selection chief George Bailey has maintained that 35-year-old Finch, who has scores of 0, 5, 5, 1, 15, 0 and 0 in his past seven ODIs and an average in the format this year of 13.00, is the man to lead the Australian white-ball teams despite his struggles, although he may not last beyond the World Cup should his run of outs continue.
Cummins, who was rested from the two ODI series against first Zimbabwe and then the Kiwis, both now won by Finch and the Aussies, said the skipper remained a “great leader”. He is backing his teammate to bounce back in October, saying that Finch has not lost any of his “aura” even in his form slump.
“It’s something about being in professional sports, especially as a batter, you’re going to have times when you’re not riding high,” Cummins told Fox Sports News.
“He’s a champion. He’s been around for a long time, a great leader of our team so I’m sure he’ll come out the other side. He’s someone you see on the team sheet and if he’s on your team, you’re very happy.
“He’s one of those matchwinners you’re always worried about. He’s lost none of that aura.”
Clarke also said he hoped Finch could get some runs in the final ODI on Sunday to hit the T20 World Cup with confidence.
“Twenty-20 is hard to get back into form,” he said.
“If you’re out of form you haven’t got much time to get used to the conditions, see the ball, if it’s moving, you’ve really got to go for it.
“That’s why I’m hoping Finch can just get a few runs in this third game at least (so) when he walks out to bat in that Twenty-20 he’s got the confidence to take the opposition on because we’re going to need to win the World Cup.”