Cricket

Finch and Maxwell bolster Vics batting lineup

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Australia’s white ball captain Aaron Finch has overcome a knee complaint and is set to line up for his condition for the first time in 820 days.

Finch will be named alongside Australian teammate Glenn Maxwell in Victoria’s Marsh Cup squad for their clash against Tasmania at Blundstone Arena on Sunday.

T20 superstar Maxwell played his first game for the Vics since October 2019 last week, an 853-day gap between games, making just two and taking 1-18 on two overs as they descended into the Queensland par 92 runs at Junction Oval.

Finch missed that game as he continues to be troubled by a knee complaint which saw him undergo surgery ahead of Australia’s T20 World Cup triumph last year and also missed three early games of the KFC BBL season in December.

Tasmania had hoped that mid-range all-rounder Tim David would turn up for their Marsh Cup matches following his involvement in the Pakistan Super League, but he decided to take a break from state cricket after having been bought for A$1.53 million at this year’s Indian Premier League auction.

Finch’s return, as well as being a welcome boost to Victoria’s struggling one-day batting roster which currently sits fifth on the Marsh Cup table with almost no chance of qualifying for the final next week, also serves as a good shot for the Australian skipper ahead of the white ball stage of the Pakistani tour at the end of March.

The 35-year-old is coming off a lean Dettol T20I streak against Sri Lanka where he managed just 78 runs in five innings with a strike rate of less than a run-a-ball (91.76), which led to greats like Mark Waugh and Ian Healy to question his place in the team.

National selection committee chairman George Bailey said last month after the White Balls squad was announced for the Pakistan tour that he had no doubts Finch would lead the team at the World Cup T20 this year in Australia and he was delighted that the right-hander would get to play cricket over 50 at the end of the summer.

“I’m sure Finchy would have liked a few more races in the series that just ended, there’s no doubt about that,” Bailey said.

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“But also putting it into context, he’s still struggling with that knee injury a little bit. So what Finchy will have between the end of this series (against Sri Lanka) and leaving for this tour (to Pakistan) will be a chance to keep working on it.

“In T20 cricket, you can play a lot without spending a lot of time in the middle. So I’m really excited that Finchy will be getting one-day cricket in the near future, and that ability to spend more time at the crease will be for him as well. very beneficial.”

With just two days between games, Finch and Maxwell could potentially feature in the Vics’ final Marsh Cup game of the season against Western Australia at the Junction Oval on Tuesday.

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It will be Finch’s first time playing for Victoria since December 7, 2019, when their Marsh Sheffield Shield clash against WA was scrapped after Day 1 when the MCG ground was deemed unsafe.

The right-hander’s last A-list appearance for his state came two weeks earlier when he scored 119 as Victoria trailed South Australia’s 322 on a point.

Finch and Maxwell battled together today in Victoria’s center wicket shot at Junction Oval ahead of Sunday’s clash, which will be shown live on cricket.com.au and Kayo.