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May 31, 2019

Aaron Finch

Bristol, London, UK

Q. Aaron, how's Dave pulled up and have you settled on your 11 for tomorrow?
AARON FINCH: Dave is fine, he will play tomorrow. No doubt about that. In terms of the 11, we will name it at the toss.

Q. Is it still the bowling attack, that is kind of what you are tossing about?
AARON FINCH: Something like that (laughing).

Q. Who is kind of in the mix, if you don't mind me asking?
AARON FINCH: Everyone is in the mix. We are very close to an 11, but we are not going to name it yet. Everyone's been in really good form both in the previous years we have played, the practice games, and the three games we played against New Zealand, so everyone's in contention.

Q. Did you expect that the selections were going to be this tough this early?
AARON FINCH: Absolutely, yeah. It's always really tough early in the tournament, especially when everyone is coming off really good form in the previous series that we have played and in the lead-up. Everyone is hitting the ball beautifully in the nets and everyone is bowling well.

It's a real positive that any time someone's been given an opportunity, they have taken it, which makes selection so hard but it's a good position to be in.

Q. What do you make of the West Indies this morning if you saw them? Sorry. What do you make of the West Indies this morning?
AARON FINCH: I didn't see a huge amount but from reading the scorecard and watching a little bit over the last hour or so they have been pretty impressive!

Q. Two games in, is the short ball the key? Is that something that's emerged as an important weapon at this World Cup, do you think?
AARON FINCH: Everyone will be using that no doubt, with quite a few of the grounds being such short straight boundaries. And in England, with such long, square boundaries at times, depending on where you play, it will be a huge asset.

Q. There's going to be a few unlucky boys, come selection. What is going to be the message to those guys for this game and the guys that miss out of this game for the rest of the tournament?
AARON FINCH: It is a long tournament and making sure you are ready to go at any stage. We travel around quite a bit with our games. We don't have too many back-to-back in the same spot. It's about adapting to conditions and every player being ready.

We have seen in the past the last World Cup we played, all 15 players were used and that wasn't as long a tournament as this is in terms of games played.

It's about everyone being ready because it can change at the last minute depending on conditions. As we know, wickets can stay under cover for a lot longer in these parts and, again, it is just making sure that we are fully prepared every game.

Q. Justin Langer spoke during the week about the dressing room had so much laughter in it and drawing a contrast to 12 months ago. What is your perspective on that, the journey the team has been on?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, winning helps that, no doubt. It was a really tough series we played here, a 5-0 loss. But everyone is really enjoying each other's success, which is a huge part.

I think, especially building up to a World Cup when there is talk about selection and guys pushing hard to maybe get that last spot, or the last couple of spots, teams can go insular at times and you start to look after your own performance and make sure you are doing everything you can to find that selection spot.

But one thing that we are conscious of and we talked quite a bit about in the lead-up to the last couple of series, that as soon as you start playing for yourself, it tends to go against you and if you can do everything that you can for the team, that's looked favourably on.

And you look back in the history of cricket, guys that continually hung around and they might have been 12th man for a few tours, but they keep getting that extra tour because they are doing everything that the team needs and then you get an opportunity.

And you think back to the '99 World Cup, 2003, Andy Bichel, he was just around the mark all the time, got an opportunity, and played some really key roles in winning the tournament for Australia.

That was a message that you do everything you can for the team and never put yourself before the team.

Q. Steve Smith has been such a large figure in Australian cricket for a while and such a big leader of the team. What is it like having him as another play in a sense? And what is it like for you as a captain, what is that relationship like in trying to fit back in in that sense?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, he's been great around the team and great for me as well. I think he's got a bit more spare time on his hands. He gets bored pretty easy. That is why he is training for hours on end (smiling). He doesn't like it when he is told he can't train for the day.

I suppose, when you are the captain, there is a bit more stuff that occupies your time at various times, but he's been brilliant around the boys, he's been great for me, talking cricket, talking batting, things like that and lessons he's learnt from being captain and leading the team, I think he's been really important for me, and just general conversation.

The guys who have come back look really relaxed, they are ready to go, as everyone is.

Q. Has it been a relief to seeing how well they are hitting the ball? There is a lot of thought that after you have international cricket, they might not be up for scratch, but they certainly appear that way?
AARON FINCH: When you are world-class players, you adapt again really quickly and you get up to speed.

And having them play 13 games each in the IPL is really important. It gets you -- that is a high standard of cricket so that gets you back up to as close to international competition as you can which is really important.

And I think Steve will be one of the all-time greats by the time he will have finished the game. There is no question about his batting ability. So when you are great, you get the game quicker, things just happen quicker, so there is never any issue about how he'll bounce back.

And the same with Davey. They are both so competitive. They have both got great records. So there was never any doubt about how well they would come back.

Q. On an earlier point, the short-pitch bowling. Is it a relief to see how well it is working? Considering your attack, it works so well towards short-pitch bowling, especially with Pat and Mitch in there?
AARON FINCH: Yes, when the wicket is not doing a lot, it is nice to try and shut down half of the boundary using short-pitched bowling. It is not a surprise that other teams are using it, no doubt.

When the wickets are true and good to hit through the line, if people keep pitching it up, you are asking for trouble. So I think it will play a big part in the tournament along with spin.

You can look at every team and they have got different strengths. So teams will use it differently. But no doubt it will be a big part.

Q. You played Afghanistan in 2015 and won comprehensively. Do you see it as being a much different test this time? They have come quite a long way since then.
AARON FINCH: Absolutely. They've turned into a really world-class side at times. They have got some of the best bowlers in the world and their batting is improving all the time. You can never take a side like that for granted.

If you look back at 2015, we played them at The WACA which was probably the furthest from their home conditions you could possibly get. And as good as conditions that we could have played in.

So to come to Bristol -- I still haven't seen the wicket. Didn't see it yesterday, it was still under covers and the day before, when there was a lot of rain around.

So yeah, they are a dangerous side, very dangerous. We have seen around the world some of the performances their players are putting up in very strong domestic competitions.

Like I said, if you take your foot off the gas for a second, they will hurt you and you still have to play at your best to beat them.

Q. What was it like to meet the Queen and can you tell us about your banter with Prince Harry?
AARON FINCH: It's an honour to meet the Queen. It was my second time. I feel fortunate to have met her twice. Prince Harry having a dig at my age, it was...

I don't think I'm that old, 32. It's getting on a bit, isn't it?

Q. I realise the focus is on tomorrow's game, but in terms of Afghanistan, how important is it for the game that they continue to emerge as a strong nation, particularly in Test cricket the next few years?
AARON FINCH: To see their growth in the last four years in particular has been huge. Even them winning their warmup game against Pakistan, they played brilliantly, they bowled excellent, they batted excellent.

For the world game, they have such a huge following of fans in Afghanistan, some huge marquee players that are so sought after around the world. Cricket is growing quicker and quicker there and it's a great story.

And when you talk to their players -- I was talking to their captain the other day, Gulbadin, and he was saying how passionate their fans are and how they have support all oar the world now which is huge for cricket, not just in Afghanistan but world cricket, to have them firing.

Q. Afghanistan wouldn't have played four years ago in the World Cup. This time around you were in Zimbabwe last year who aren't playing this time. It is lamentable that the World Cup has reduced from 14 to 10 teams?
AARON FINCH: It is more a Champions' Trophy style format that you get there on rankings. I'm not too sure. I haven't thought about it to be honest. When the structure is as it is now with a round-robin format, to have 14 teams would be too much.

With the old groupings it's comfortably done. Round-robin, that's probably a format that does produce the best team as the winner. Whereas the round-robin you can sneak through and dodge opposition.

We didn't play South Africa last time, who are an unbelievably dangerous side. So I think to play everyone and then to get down to four teams, two and then one, it's a real test of teams peaking at the right time.

But also managing their way with their full 15-man squad, managing their way through the tournament.

Q. Overnight, Jason Dunstall and Stu Coventry will depart under the Big Bash restructure. Were you aware of that and is that the right vision going forward?
AARON FINCH: I wasn't a hugely aware of it until today. I got a call this morning. So disappointed. Stu and Jason has put a huge amount of work in, Stu in particular, over the last seven years to get the franchise to where it is now to be leading the way. One of the top teams in terms of membership and success. And to have success last year was great for the side.

But yeah, feeling sorry for both of them, Stu in particular who has done so much work for everyone and been a huge support for myself and Andrew, Simon before that, so really feeling for him, but also very thankful for the work that they have done. And I have spoke to Stu this morning, haven't spoken to Jason, but feeling for them.

Q. On David coming back in that opening partnership with Usman changing, him going down to three. How do you feel about that dynamic considering how successful it's been for you over the last eight games, leading into World Cup?
AARON FINCH: Dave and I have had a great partnership over the years as well. I think that was a key part of our 2015 World Cup win.

I have known them both for a long time. I've batted with them both for a long time. So which ever way we decided to go with that, that didn't faze me either way.

I think Dave's destructiveness in the powerplay is a huge reason why he's one of the best players in the world and when he gets in, he can be so dominant on attacks.

Usman, or Shaun, which ever way go at three there. Usman's No. 3 batter in Test cricket so there is no issues around whether he can do it. Shaun was very successful when he's done it over the last 12 to 18 months, so we have some great options and we will sit down this afternoon and nut that out.

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