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June 24, 2019

Aaron Finch

London, England, UK

Q. Does this mean more to the group, being England versus Australia? I imagine in your career, there's games you'll remember, and this will be one of them.
AARON FINCH: I think you always remember World Cup games regardless who it's against. I don't think you can put any more importance on one game over another in terms of your country's rivalries or anything; particularly when there's two points on the line in such a tightly-contested table there.

So it's going to be exciting. It's going to be big, no doubt. But at the end of the day, it's still two points up for grabs regardless of who you're playing.

Q. I'm guessing you haven't had a look at the pitch yet?
AARON FINCH: Haven't seen it.

Q. Can you tell us what you're kind of thinking? You're not going to reveal your 11, I imagine, but what discussions around selection will be or what they have been or what they will be this afternoon?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, it will be based or on when we see the wicket what the conditions will provide. I think we saw yesterday, as the game went on, it started to turn a little bit more than we probably expected it to.

Here, it looked like there was a little bit in it to start with and then it dried out and sort of powdered up and started turning. So that will be a case for discussion, no doubt, which way we go with the quicks.

We've been really flexible with our group the whole way through and that stems from our top order being really flexible with where they bat right the way through specific match-ups with the ball and stuff like that. So that will be the main issues, or the main talking points of selection.

Q. As the World Cup has gone on, or since you've landed in England, have your plans of using the two, Starc with Pat Cummins changed in the sense that you're giving them shorter spurts with the new ball, bringing them back when you need a wicket; like has that changed since you've come here?
AARON FINCH: No, we always knew how important the middle overs will be. I think if you look at all the stats down over the last couple of years of one-day cricket teams that are really successful through their middle overs tend to win a lot more games just based on they are going into the back half of the innings, especially the last 15 overs with six, seven, eight wickets in hand. It's hard to stop no matter who you're playing and no matter what your death bowling options are.

We always knew coming into it that their middle overs will be important and especially Starcy and Pat, just by their aggressiveness with the ball and their wicket-taking ability.

Q. I'm sure you are just focussed on your job and winning the game for your team, but the predicament that England might be if you beat them, big nation, big rival potentially, how mindful are you of their potential predicament if you can knock them off tomorrow in terms of the semi-finals?
AARON FINCH: Well, I think if you look at England's record over the last couple of years, I think I read something the other day that they haven't lost back-to-back ODIs in England for quite some time, and if you look at their trend, they tend to bounce back and go ultra-aggressive, as well.

So we are ready for that. We are expecting them to come out ultra-hard and take the game on, which has been one of their main traits over the last couple of years, in particular.

So yeah, we're focussed more about what we are doing well and what we can improve in our game. But I think as you get further into the tournament, you've seen each team play a lot of games in different conditions, on different surfaces against different oppositions. It just gives you a bit more of an idea of how you expect them to play based on your match-ups.

Q. For some of the guys that are going to be here for four months or so, is there anything being done to try to keep them mentally fresh at the tournament and also the long-term?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, the last few days, and pretty much through our whole tournament, if there's been a couple of training days, one of them has always been optional. Just to make sure that the guys are remaining as fresh as they can, because I know when you're on the road a lot and you tend to be in your hotel room, in a dressing room or out there playing, or who are on a bus travelling up and down the motorway.

I think it's really important that guys -- most guys are experienced enough to listen to their bodies and be able to make that call on when they feel they need to hit a few more balls or put their feet up and not even come to training. I know -- I think Davey was the only one that didn't come to training yesterday. Most guys will have a bit of a run-around on the field today but that's about it. It's been really flexible in that regard, just to make sure guys are getting enough time away from the cricket ground.

Q. No Jason Roy for England. James Vince will play instead. How big a loss do you see that being for England, and can you target James Vince, who as yet has not got a score in this tournament?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, James played really well in the warm-up game against us and got 60-odd down at Southampton. He's proved to be a class top-order player in his own right. So you can never underestimate anyone in any opposition, and we've done our due diligence on him as we have with every other player.

So it would be really naïve to overlook someone of his quality, because you just leave yourself short, and you leave yourself open to making some mistakes there.

Yeah, I think Jason's been a huge part of their planning and a huge part of their success over the last couple of years, as well. He obviously plays a high tempo and high-risk game, which when it comes off is super influential on the game I think.

But like anything, if you rush someone back from a niggle, and we weigh that up all the time when guys have got niggles; that if you push them a bit hard early, they are out for the rest of the tournament. It can be a tough decision to make.

Q. Do you sense the pressure is increasing on England with the injury and defeat to Sri Lanka? Can you take advantage?
AARON FINCH: I think the pressure is increasing on everyone. As soon as you get to the business end of the tournament, we have three great games against three great sides. The pressure is there on each and every individual, but also each and every team. Teams will be pushing for that last couple of spots in the final four, whether you're in there at the moment or you're pushing hard to be that side; I think the pressure is on everyone.

Q. I know you probably are over talking about this, but Jonny Bairstow put a column out suggesting that Australia is hypocritical because after the 2013 Ashes, Stuart Broad was encouraged to be booed, I guess by Darren Lehmann, and now JL has come has come out and said that obviously Australia don't want Steve Smith and David Warner booed. Do you have a view on that?
AARON FINCH: I think whatever the public do, you're not going to change it, whether someone comes out and says do or don't. I think it's just going to happen regardless, anyway. It hasn't affected our boys one bit, I can honestly say that if anything, it's given them a bit more motivation.

As a player, you don't tend to hear a hell of a lot of stuff from the fans. You hear noise at times, but you don't hear specifics. So I'm sure that's the last thing from Steve or Davey's mind when they are walking out to bat; if a handful of people or a whole stadium are booing them, it doesn't make any difference to how hard they watch the ball or how hard they doubt themselves or anything like that. I think it's a bit of white noise to be fair.

Q. Just on that, what did you make of the sort of bromance that came to pass during the IPL between Jonny Bairstow and David Warner and how easy is it to flick the switch back to international cricket when you coming up against guys that you got to know pretty well as a domestic level?
AARON FINCH: I think that's the great thing about domestic tournaments around the world is that you get an opportunity to play with guys you might have had perception on, just from playing against them, about how they play, what kind of bloke they are or something like that.

I think that's opened up everyone's eyes to 99 percent of people that you play with are good blokes, regardless of what tournament it is or who you're playing for. But that's pretty easy to flick back into international mode, no doubt. It's a game representing your country. There's a lot of pride on the line. There's a couple of points in a World Cup, which is so tightly contested.

Yeah, I think a bit like anyone who plays with Davey. They see a side of him and they play against him and they see one when they play with him, and he's a great man. He's someone that obviously Jonny and him have had some run-ins on the ground, too. It's good to see that when you do get an opportunity to get to know somebody, that you take that advantage.

Q. And are these guys feeding into your plans? Say, for example, Jonny Bairstow or Dave Warner have come to you and said I've spotted this about --
AARON FINCH: Absolutely. Everyone is involved in sort of planning meetings and things like that. You get an opportunity to talk, whether it's in a structured meeting or over coffee or dinner or a beer or whatever it might be. I think as cricketers, we're all nuffies at the end of the day for the game; so you're always talking about the game and coming warmup different strategies and things that you've seen over time.

A lot of times, that changes. When a guy has come in as a youngster into international cricket, their game changes dramatically over a period of time, so you always have to be adapting, and that's what's a great thing about these international -- sorry, the domestic T20 comps, is that you get to play with and so many players that you wouldn't have had the access to in the past, that you do get to see more of them.

Q. How closely are you monitoring the Aus-A guys, and specifically, what's been the feedback been of Matthew Wade, not only the last week or so, but the last six months of his career?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, we've been keeping an eye on the score. There's been a bit of chat between JL and Hickey and myself and things like that. It's great to see Wadey come out and smacking them. He's done that for quite a while in domestic cricket now. It's great to see.

They have had a couple of really good wins, the A boys, and quite convincing, as well, so that's really good. I think it's a sign of the strength that we are building over the last couple of years is the depth of Australian cricket is starting to get back to what people call the heyday, the glory years of the early 2000s and times like that when the competition underneath the men's and women's international team was so fiercely competitive; that it's starting to get back to that.

Guys are getting an opportunity, whenever it might be, they are putting their hand up and being counted and making sure they are being in the forefront of selectors' minds when selection comes up.

Q. You've been really good as a captain. You already won the big bash, but what was -- after becoming international captain, was there any moment, where, this is difficult and I need to improve on this? And second, what has been the most satisfying, happy aspect of your captaincy?
AARON FINCH: Oh, there's always things that you can improve on and you look to learn. For me when I first started in leadership roles I was quite young, like in all the junior representative teams and things like that and doing it, I think eight years ago more the Melbourne Renegades, to now, I've changed a lot, just in the way that I used to talk a lot and some feedback from the boys was: "Don't talk so much." So I took that on board.

I don't tend to not talk as much around team meetings or things like that. I try and let everyone else have their own say and just contribute where I need to.

And in terms of most satisfying, I think it's seeing guys come in to an environment and feel really comfortable in the Australian team when they first come in. It can be a daunting place when you come from domestic cricket to the international, especially if it's an international tour. You're away from home and you're away from your comfort zones. So to have guys come in and be really comfortable in and around the team straight away, I think that's a really big positive for myself and the coaching staff and all the other senior players that contribute to a lot of that.

So it's a bit than more wins and losses in a leadership role. It's about making sure that you're making sure that you're creating a great environment for everyone to succeed in.

Q. I take your point about the pressure growing on every team as you get nearer and nearer to the end of the group stage, absolutely right. But looking back at the last 20 or 30 years, Australia in World Cups have dealt with that pressure and gone on to win the World Cup and England fundamentally haven't. That must be a huge help, isn't it? Dealing with the pressure and actually winning World Cups, it's part of your DNA in a way that it just isn't for England.
AARON FINCH: Yeah, I think over the World Cup history, Australia have had that record of peaking at the right time of the tournament.

I think when you look back to the '99 World Cup, Australia were on wood for a lot of that tournament and played their best cricket under real pressure, and the senior players stood up when it was counted, and I think that's a great learning for everyone.

And the fact that we've got six guys in our squad who were part of 2015 World Cup win is really valuable. We've also got Ricky Ponting with us; Brad Haddin with us as coaching staff have won World Cups and multiple World Cups, as well.

Just to be able to share that experience of what you might feel when you walk out into the middle in a knock out game or a high-pressure game, England and Australia at Lord's, it doesn't get much bigger than that. It's going to be a great day. Great spectacle. Great to be a part of.

I think having that experience of guys who can almost share what you might be feeling; so you can almost be prepared for it before you're in that situation I think is invaluable.

Q. Over the past couple of years, obviously England's one-day record against Australia has been very good, something like ten wins out of 11. But you won the warm-up game in Southampton. Do you look at that and say that shows that you've turned a corner, perhaps?
AARON FINCH: I think the warm-up game, there was quite a few of England's probably first choice 11 missing: Joe Root didn't play; Eoin didn't play; Archer didn't play, so I don't think you can say that.

I think that we're going in with a lot of confidence, no doubt. We've been playing some really good cricket and building up to I think where our level is to play really consistent international cricket on the big stage. And I think when you get into a situation where the crunch comes, it's going to be the team that holds their nerve.

I think if you look at every team, you look down the list and you pick out eight or nine match winners in every team, and then you've got guys that are so integral to that part and they make up the 11.

So I look at our side and see a lot of match winners. I look at England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, West Indies, everyone has match winners and guys who on their day, can blow a game apart. So it's about the team that holds their nerve the longest and under the highest pressure that will succeed, no doubt.

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