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June 28, 2019

Aaron Finch

London, England, UK

Q. 33 degrees tomorrow. How does that impact the game and if you win the toss, will that have an impact on what you do?
AARON FINCH: No, not at all. We're obviously used to playing in very hot conditions. So that won't have any impact on what we do first or anything else that goes with the day.

Q. Will it be better for the spinners do you think?
AARON FINCH: Hasn't been a day/night game here yet. That's why we're training tonight, as well, just to get as much information as we can about tomorrow. If there's going to be any dew or any kind of assistance in the wicket, things like that, we'll weigh all that stuff up tonight after we get a bit more info.

Q. Your team's looking good. You're on fire and you're the favourites to win this whole damn thing, so what do you think about that kind of pressure and what would it mean for Australian cricket to win the World Cup this year, given the ball tampering scandal?
AARON FINCH: Oh, I think that any time you have pressure on you, it's because the expectations high, because of what you have done in the recent history.

So you can never shy away from that, and you can look at it either way. You can look at it as a burden, and only you can stuff it up, but I think at the end of the day, when you're talking about favoritism and things like that, you also have to appreciate the amount of work that goes in behind the scenes from the coaches and everyone to get to that position, and whether it's us, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, I think the expectation for everyone is all the same; that you turn up and that you can win the World Cup.

So if it did happen, it would be a huge achievement for the country.

Q. In reference to something you said during the week about the use of data and side to side, you explained that's what governed why Jason came into the team against England, and it obviously went really well. Would it be fair to depict it as the same reasons that you picked Jason against England, due to the data, would be similar reasons why you couldn't leave him out against New Zealand and it would be no hard feelings in that people sort of accept inside the squad that there are match-ups and that you'll play when you're suited and you won't play when you're not suited?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, absolutely, and we've been really open and clear with that with the players from the start; the expectation of everyone being as flexible as they possibly can be. That comes from the batting order to selection. There's times when you still have to go with a gut feel on a particular play or on a certain surface.

So you can read a lot into the numbers, but at the end of the day, there's also a lot of experience in our group with the coaching staff, some senior players that will talk about teams and things like that. So there's a lot of experience that sometimes the numbers don't quite add up to what everyone's thinking, as well. So then you have to take some calculated risks and a bit of a punt at times on selection on how you use guys with the ball, in particular, and structuring up sometimes with the bat.

But I think flexibility is the key, and everyone's been on board with that. There's been no whinging or anything like that when someone's been left out for a specific reason. I think that's a sign of a really solid group; that you can -- you understand that 11, or 15 doesn't go into 11, so there's always a couple of really tough calls each game.

Q. The last time you guys played the Kiwis in a pressure-cooker situation was probably the World Cup final and New Zealand crumbled in that situation. They have got a bit of pressure on them again this week, need to go win one of these last two games to make the semifinals. Do you see that as a weakness of the Black Caps' side, and something that you can exploit?
AARON FINCH: Oh, I wouldn't say it's a weakness. I think it's a funny thing about knockout games and finals and things like that, is that all it takes is one or two balls or something to change the momentum of the game. Doesn't mean you had a stinker on the day. Doesn't mean that you're out-classed or anything like that. Just turns, makes it somebody else beats you.

I think if you get beaten on the day, you can wear that; if you fall a bit short here and there, you can wear being beaten by a better opposition or who out-classed you or out-skill you on the day.

But I think the great thing with New Zealand is that they fight and scrap every single game, regardless of whether it's a World Cup final or it's a club game. That's a part of how they play their best cricket, and I know under Kane they certainly do fight and scrap for every run on the field. They are a great fielding side. They put pressure on you. They have got world-class players. It's going to be a good game tomorrow, no doubt.

Q. Jonny Bairstow has claimed that the media in this country are just waiting for England to fail. I don't know how much TV you watch during your time in England or how many papers you read, but is that your feeling of the English media; that they are just waiting for England to trip up, or do you perhaps experience that in the Australian media?
AARON FINCH: I haven't seen anything written. I've watched a TV, a bit of SKY News and things like that that you see some stuff. But in terms of papers, we don't have them around our team room. We don't have them around the dressing room. We have made a conscious effort of that over the tournament, and that was basically on the back of coming over here. We knew that there would be some stuff written and there would be some opinions had when we first landed in the country.

So we just wanted to take as much white noise as we could away from our focus. It is quite hard to comment on it because I honestly haven't seen much of it.

Q. I guess in the wake of what happened in Cape Town last year, all nations have reassessed how they have gone about playing on the field in the terms of their demeanor and the like. Do you feel this World Cup has been played in perhaps a better spirit than perhaps had that incident not happened and nations hadn't reassessed?
AARON FINCH: I think it has been a great spirit out on the field, regardless of results. You see a lot of smiles on people's faces, which is a good sign that the game's in really good hands at the moment, and that it is being played in the right spirit.

I think that -- I'm not sure if it's been a conscious effort from individual countries, but it certainly felt -- it's felt like a really, really good tournament.

Tough to compare different times. I know the last one was quite an aggressive World Cup on the field, mainly from us. We were quite aggressive in our approach and how we went about things.

But it's been great. This one has been absolutely brilliant, and I think what's been really pleasing as well, you look around the stands, regardless of who is playing. In the past, if the home team is not playing, there could be some really empty stands, but this has been unbelievable. They have been packed out venues and really quality cricket, so people are definitely getting their value for money, too.

Q. How strong of a temptation is there to give Mitch Starch or Pat Cummins a rest of the next couple games with the semifinals spot locked up?
AARON FINCH: Quite minimal to be honest. They are both feeling really good at the moment.

So if it was going to happen at all, yeah, slightly tempting, but at the same time, you don't want to tempt fate. You don't want to upset the apple cart just for no reason, really. And that also comes down to how they are feeling, as well, and they are both feeling great at the moment.

I know that they have got no interest whatsoever in being rested or anything like that. And as a coaching staff and management of the players, everyone's really on the same page in that regard to keep -- to try and keep our winning momentum and making sure that we are never taking anything for granted in this tournament.

Q. You say you don't want to take anything for granted, but also, players are always very keen to play by and large. So how do you strike that balance, because presumably you want to be resting people before there's an injury issue if you can.
AARON FINCH: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. And you have got that opportunity now, given you've already qualified.
AARON FINCH: Yeah, absolutely. But also, the guys are in really good form, as well, so you don't want to tempt that. I mean, we have got a week between our next game. So we play Saturday, and then we play South Africa the following Saturday.

So that was a part of the reason we don't want to rest anyone, as well, because we feel as though that week will be a really good opportunity for the bowlers to really freshen up and de-loading them three or four days after this match to manage them through the next part of the tournament, and obviously with a huge summer coming up here with the Ashes and all going forward.

So that was also -- our scheduling has been quite good in that regard in that we had a really busy period sort of right at the start. Now it's four days between games, and then a week between games. So the guys will still get a lot of time to freshen up in that time.

Q. Another bigger picture thing. What you made of the format of this World Cup as you get towards the finals? Obviously there are no groups. Every country plays each other once. Have you liked that? Has it gone on too long?
AARON FINCH: No, I really like it personally. And this is only a personal opinion. I think compared to the last World Cup, when you're in groups, you can sort of dodge teams. For example, we didn't play South Africa in the last World Cup, and they are such a great side, or they were a great side in that World Cup; they were so dangerous and unlucky not to make the final, but we didn't have to play them at any point in the competition.

I really like the idea of having everyone play each other. It would be nice to get some more teams in there but then I think you're looking at a tournament that goes probably a bit too long. I personally think the balance is really good at the moment.

Q. Going back to another thing Jonny said the other day, Jonny Bairstow, he said that pitches for this World Cup have been different from the last few years. Going back to 2015 World Cup, do you feel like you guys had an advantage on the pitches you played on? Should the home team get an advantage?
AARON FINCH: I think, I'm not sure how they go about the preparation in terms of the ICC, what they have, what protocols they have with pitches and curators and what people see in that process. I'm not entirely sure.

I think in the last World Cup, I think it was all, bar a couple of matches in New Zealand, and we had one wash-out, but the sun was shining; so there was no real change in the wickets.

I think over here, having a really wet first couple of weeks of the tournament probably set some curators back in terms of what their ideal preparation would have been.

But they have still been good, entertaining wickets. You can look at it two ways. People want 400, and they see that as an entertaining game and teams getting close. I personally think the games that are 220, 240 that are real arm wrestles that have more momentum shifts back and forth are more entertaining.

I think from an overall point of view, they might be slightly different to what they have been used to, but I think this that's dictated by the weather, as well.

Q. You've predominately been on the road since the Big Bash final. Can you give us a window into how tough is life, away for so long, the sacrifices made, when the family period starts, how do you stay pressure and all the challenges that go with so much travel?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, it can be tough at times. My wife's travelled with me a fair bit lately. She's over here for a couple of months while I stay on and play for Surrey, as well.

It can be tough. It's important that when you get days off, you really get away from the game and freshen up. For me, that's, before my wife got here, it was about getting out and playing golf. Now it's more like shopping and things like that (laughter) but yeah, mini-golf the other day, that's the closets I've got to the course since she's been here -- sorry, darling (smiling) I'll cut that later (laughter).

But it's about getting away from the game and make sure you're refreshing as much as you can. Whatever, for some guys, that's totally different ends of the spectrum. But I think overall, that's good to be as a group for as long as we are, but also, just making sure that if there's half a day, that you take that for yourself and really make sure that you are doing everything that you can to clear your mind.

For me, that's cafes and golf. For Usman, that's shopping. He loves his shopping and things like that. A few of us play golf. Steve Smith, still walking around his room with a cricket bat in his hand (Laughter). It's just totally different for everyone, but just mentally refreshing every chance you get is so important.

Cheers, guys.

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