Aaron Finch: 'For the health of the global game, we need cricket up and running'

Australia's limited-overs captain Aaron Finch said his team's tour to England is crucial to the health of the sport as it tries to recover from COVID-19.

File picture of Aaron Finch.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Australia men's limited-overs captain Aaron Finch on Wednesday said his team's limited-overs tour to England is crucial to the health of the sport as it  tries to recover from the raging COVID-19 pandemic. Australia is resuming international cricket for the first time since March with three T20Is and three ODIs against world champion England.

“For the health of the global game, we need cricket up and running," said Finch. “Our part as players is to ensure we are doing everything we can while following the health guidelines and travel restrictions. For me, as soon as the health authorities said 'it was safe enough to travel', I was 100 per cent confident of getting over here (England) and playing.”

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Australia is following West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland into the bio-secure environment which has been a considerable success with the exceptions of England fast bowler Jofra Archer, who breached protocol when he made a detour home, and Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez who clicked a picture with an elderly lady on the golf course adjacent to the hotel at the Ageas Bowl. Watching a steady stream of cricket inside the bio-bubble has put 'a lot of people's mind at ease', according to Finch. "It shows that you can travel and lock yourself up in a bio-bubble and make it [cricket] happen. The two Test series and the Irish ODIs prove that we can work well within strict guidelines and continue to grow the game."

Like the West Indies and Pakistan, Australia will be warming up with five intra-squad matches before facing England. "The first intra-squad 50-over game will be on Friday, and then we will probably play four T20 practice games. Coming off such a long break, it will be really important for us to get together as a group and have a high intensity hit out.

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"It's been a long time sitting at home, especially (for those of us) from Melbourne, and a little bit from Sydney, just to get outside again and train and play is going to be great. Between myself and Patty [Pat Cummins], we will sit down and pick a couple of sides in preparation for Friday."

With 21 to select from, an extra player from the Hampshire staff is expected to feature in the warm-up matches.

Unbelievable achievement

Finch also heaped praise on England's James Anderson, who became the first seamer to claim 600 Test wickets with the dismissal of Pakistan's Azhar Ali on the final afternoon of the third Test in Southampton. "It is an extraordinary achievement," Finch said. "He has been an amazing player for so long... and I think to be able to pick 600 wickets shows longevity in the game. With the number of Tests he has played, to be able to back up and do it all around the world is something unbelievable. Congratulations to Jimmy."

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