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Finch hails Warner, Marsh for T20 WC success

November 15, 2021 12:09 IST
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'Without a word of a lie, I promise you, I called (coach) Justin Langer a few months ago and said, 'Don't worry about Davey, he'll be man-of-the-tournament'.'

Australian captain Aaron Finch kisses David Warner as they celebrate after winning the T20 World Cup on Sunday

IMAGE: Australian captain Aaron Finch kisses David Warner as they celebrate after winning the T20 World Cup on Sunday. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Australia opener David Warner and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh repaid the team's faith after playing crucial roles in their maiden Twenty20 World Cup success, said captain Aaron Finch.

Whispers grew around Warner's form after the feisty left-hander was dropped by his Sunrisers Hyderabad team in the second half of the Indian Premier League campaign before the World Cup.

 

The opener struggled in warm-up matches too but proved his credentials as a big-occasion player with scores of 89 not out, 49 and 53 in his last three matches, including Sunday's final.

Australia skipper Aaron Finch was not surprised his opening partner walked away with the player-of-the-tournament award.

"You didn't expect that? I certainly did," he told a news conference after Australia's comprehensive eight-wicket win in the final.

"Without a word of a lie, I promise you, I called (coach) Justin Langer a few months ago and said, 'Don't worry about Davey, he'll be man-of-the-tournament.'

"He's one of the all-time great batters. And he's a fighter.

"He's someone who when his back is against the wall, that's when you get the very, very best of David Warner.

"It was a special finish to the tournament for him, the last couple of knocks."

Mitchell Marsh gets into the act during his match-winning knock of 77 not out. 

IMAGE: Mitchell Marsh gets into the act during his match-winning knock of 77 not out. Photograph: ANI

Marsh was adjudged player-of-the-match for his unbeaten 77 off 50 balls.

The all-rounder's promotion to number three revitalised Australia's top-order and Finch said it was a "really important move" that paid off handsomely for his team.

"He's someone who loves the contest, loves the challenge. And we just backed him from the start," Finch said.

Marsh, who has now spent a decade in the Australian set-up and never really got going save a couple of Ashes hundreds in 32 Tests and one three-figure mark in ODIs, finally hogged the limelight as an unlikely No.3 for Australia in the T20 World Cup.

Promoting Marsh up the order turned out to be a master-stroke, something the Australians had put a lot of thought to during their tour of the West Indies.

"Mitch's move to No. 3 was a really important one in the West Indies. We felt as though he's someone who could play -- he obviously plays fast bowling very well.

"Growing up in the WACA (Perth), he's very, very dominant off the back foot. He's someone who loves the contest, loves the challenge," Finch explained the rationale behind the move.

"We committed to him batting at number three for a long time. He knew that, and that's all you need sometimes. You need a little bit of backing and you need some confidence from everybody else."

Finch said the 31-year-old Mitch Marsh was a special talent. 

IMAGE: Finch said the 31-year-old Mitch Marsh was a special talent. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

The decision to have Marsh at No.3 was also linked with the hard call to demote Steve Smith from his preferred batting position in the format.

"No, not at all. To be honest, it was something we chatted about before the West Indies, and then after (we took it) probably just reassured us. Smithy was so open to it, and he'll do anything the team needs," Finch clarified.

"The way we wanted to structure up was to be more aggressive in the power play. We saw how important that was -- battle of balls.

"Smudge's (Smith's nickname) ability to play spin through the middle added that extra layer of confidence in our group with (Marcus) Stoinis and Matty Wade behind him as well...that's the way we tried to structure that up...it turned out to be a nice move," there was a sense of satisfaction in his voice.

Subjected to constant scrutiny, Marsh famously said in 2019 "most of Australia hate me", a perception likely to change after his latest heroics.

Australia's Mitchell Marsh celebrates with the trophy and teammates  

IMAGE: Australia's Mitchell Marsh celebrates with the trophy and teammates. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Finch said the 31-year-old was a special talent.

"He is the nicest person you will ever meet in your life. He's obviously a special player.

"To be able to put up with the critics for so long, when his performance hasn't been bad by any stretch of the imagination and any format of the game...

"For him to keep coming back after people keep doubting him shows how much of a quality person he is," added Finch.

The latest setback for Marsh was last year when he suffered an ankle injury.

There are times when one shot or a good delivery is a prime indicator of getting back to form and Finch saw that in Marsh's case quite early heading into the World Cup.

"...I think, it was the first ball he faced in the practice game, the first practice game against New Zealand where he hit it for six, also. That just shows the confidence that he has, the confidence we have in each other. It was brilliant," Finch recalled.

Marsh, for all the limelight, was dropped against England during the World Cup and Finch knew that he was disappointed.

"Yeah, he bounced back beautifully. He was obviously disappointed; everyone is when they get dropped. I don't know of anyone who is over the moon when they get dropped.

"It was only a structural change, we went with a different makeup. That's all that was. But the way he's bounced back has been unbelievable," Finch couldn't stop praising his match-winner.

Australian coach Justin Langer celebrate with Steve Smith, David Warner and Aaron Finch celebrate after winning the T20 World Cup final on Sunday 

IMAGE: Australian coach Justin Langer celebrate with Steve Smith, David Warner and Aaron Finch celebrate after winning the T20 World Cup final on Sunday. Photograph: ANI

Since Australia's home series loss to India, the position of head coach Justin Langer and his relationship with players in the dressing room became a raging topic of discussion.

Asked if this victory would ease up things, Finch didn't duck the question but spoke how honest conversations helped.

"There's been no tension or awkwardness whatsoever. It's about having honest conversations and being really up front and being really honest," Finch said.

"The only time there's awkwardness is when things are happening behind the scenes and you're trying to work things out or you're trying to pull things under or pull the wool over someone's eyes.

"No, there's none of that whatsoever. It's been a great campaign," Finch played it with the straightest bat possible after a memorable first.

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