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July 5, 2019

Aaron Finch

Manchester, England, UK

THE MODERATOR: If you can keep it to one question per person so we can try and get around the room and everyone gets a chance to ask a question.

Q. How's Glenn Maxwell today? Has he a chance of missing this game?
AARON FINCH: He seems pretty good. He's going to have a train. He said he's been able to hold the bat no problem, it will just be a case of how he feels in the net when he has a hit. At the end of the day, I think we will leave that call up to him, if he feels confident enough to get out there and do the job. All in all, he's a lot better than Shaun, obviously.

Q. Aaron, how's Shaun Marsh, emotionally, I guess and how much has the events of yesterday taken its toll on the team, emotionally?
AARON FINCH: Yes, Shaun was obviously very disappointed. He is still in surgery at the moment, currently. So we just wish him a speedy recovery. He is going to stay around with the team as long as the tournament goes and yeah, I think it hit the boys pretty hard yesterday. It is not ideal having anyone ruled out of any opposition or any team throughout the tournament.

And it was just unfortunate that it hit him where it did. An inch lower, an inch higher, and he would be fine. It was one of those freak things which was really unfortunate. Yeah, he's a very resilient bloke, very tough bloke, so yeah, we're all right behind him.

Q. I guess the flipside if Maxxy doesn't come up, how would Peter Handscomb go under the pressure of the World Cup to just be thrown straight in there if he played tomorrow?
AARON FINCH: Yeah, if required, he will be 100 percent ready to go. We saw how well he played in India and in the UAE. I think being 2-nil down against India doesn't get much harder than that as well, so I think the resilience he showed after a tough summer as well and then to come out in them series and to perform really well, get a real crucial hundred in the 370 run chase at Mohali to set up what ended up being a great ODI series shows that he's well and truly ready to step in and play if required and that was the reason why he was selected.

He was really stiff to miss out in the first place on the World Cup squad and every opportunity he's had recently with bat in hand, in the field, he's nailed so, yeah, we are very confident that if required, he will do that job.

Q. What are you feeding your fast bowlers, red meat?
AARON FINCH: (Smiling) No, it was just one of those freak things. Shaun got a bouncer that sort of followed him a little bit. We always pride ourself on competitive net sessions. We think that that keeps you very sharp as a batsman in particular and it was one of those unfortunate things.

Maxxy, the one that he got just didn't bounce quite as much as he expected, it hit him on the arm, so yeah, it was no fault of anyone really, it was guys being competitive in the nets and guys making sure that each and every one's as prepared to play as and when required.

Q. It is not ideal when they are knocking over your own men, but it shows that they are coming to peak at the right time possibly?
AARON FINCH: Yes, absolutely, and they were out for a really good bowl yesterday having a couple of days off to put their, where they had their chance to put their feet up and recharge their batteries after a hectic schedule throughout this World Cup.

There's obviously no malice or anything in it. It was never ideal, but at the end of the day, these things happen in the game and it's unfortunate but, yeah...

Q. Off topic a little bit. I know you are a self-professed cricket nuffy. I know you have a Cricket World Cup to deal with. Have you given any consideration to the 100 competition? What do you make of that concept and have you given much thought as to how it will play out?
AARON FINCH: Not really, to be fair. I was a little surprised when they first announced it. I think it's something different, something new. The ECB are trying something again to try and revolutionise the game so it will be exciting to play in no doubt. At some point, it will be brutal on one bowler in particular, having to bowl a ten-ball over or however that -- I read something recently, I don't know how it is going to go, or how the draft system is going to go in terms of who goes where. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. It will be exciting. I'm looking forward to playing in it next year.

Q. Aaron, South Africa have a good record against Australia in the last three years in one-day cricket. Why do you think that is? Do you think that will count for anything tomorrow?
AARON FINCH: I don't -- I can't put my finger on why it is. At times, we've probably had -- well probably haven't taken key moments in games. I think over the last couple of years, at the various times, we've had quite inexperienced sides at various times and South Africa have had a pretty settled line-up for majority of that three-year, four-year period, take AB out of there.

If you look down the list, they have Hashim, Quinton, Faf and then you go the other way, Kagiso Rabada, these guys, Imran, there's a lot of guys who have played a lot of cricket, so just in that period, I think there were some -- obviously 5-nil in South Africa, they beat us pretty badly. In Australia, 2-1 which was a close series and again we didn't take those key moments.

And I think on the back of that, it's probably to do with having inexperienced guys in the side and for their part having experience that they know how to fight and fight through really key battles in games.

So whether it counts for anything tomorrow, I don't think so. Obviously, very, very different conditions to what we've played them in the past. Looks like it is going to be a good wicket so we are very excited for the clash.

Q. Is this the time in the tournament where Australia feels at home? Obviously, was there a different feel I guess -- you were there in 2015 when you got to the finals -- was there a different feeling in the group where it switches on because your record is quite good at this time?
AARON FINCH: I don't think you can ever just switch on your intensity or anything like that, it is something you have to keep drilling all the time.

And I suppose, comparing it to the last World Cup, again, like I just said, we had a very experienced side during that time. So it was guys that knew their role really well and we had a settled side. Over the last few months we have managed to get to that period, that space as a team.

But I think Australia's always prided themselves on playing really good cricket and their best cricket at the right time. Yeah, yeah, it's a tough one (smiling).

But in terms of that, you always are wanting to build up and peak at the right time, but you can't switch on your intensity, it is too hard, the game is too hard.

If you let an opposition into a game or you let them on top of you, good oppositions don't let you back in, so you can't afford to have that concentration lapse or start off with poor intensity in any competition.

Q. At the captains' pressers six weeks' ago, when you were asked who would you take from the opposition, you said 'Kagiso Rabada'. Given how your bowlers have gone and how KG has gone in this tournament, will that still be your answer and if so, why? If not, why not?
AARON FINCH: When I was asked that question, it wasn't the fact it was one particular bowler. What I was trying to get to at the time was wicket-taking bowlers, guys that can break open games and when you look at that you go, I think Rabada, Bumrah, Mitchell Starc, Archer, Mark Wood, these guys that can turn a game on its head from nowhere. That was my basis of plucking Rabada's name out. He is a world-class bowler, he's proved it time and time again in all forms that he gets the job done so, no, it wouldn't change.

Any of those guys that are wicket-takers and get the best players in the world out consistently, you want them in your side, so it's going to be a tough battle.

We know what he brings with the new ball, how explosive he can be at different times, so it is something we will have to be on top of our game first up.

Q. A lot has been made of the last time, well the last Test series that what happened in Cape Town and the stairwell, but it is not just those incidents, you know. South Africa and Australia seem to bring out the angst in each other, why is that and are you going to have to restrain your players in the field?
AARON FINCH: No, there will be no restraint needed. Like I said last week, the spirit in which the World Cup has been played has been unbelievable. The sportsmanship, the camaraderie amongst the teams has been outstanding.

I think Australians and South Africans are quite similar in a lot of ways. They are very competitive people, passionate about the game and try their best as hard as they can to win games for their country. So I think that's where the rivalry I guess comes from.

There's been a lot of great Test matches, close Test matches, a lot of great historic one-day matches as well, so I think that's where it all stems from. It will be -- there will be no need for restraint, though.

Q. Can you reflect a bit on the dramatic reversal in fortunes of the two sides? I mean, Cape Town last year has been mentioned and you mentioned the last two series results. Going into tomorrow, it's very much Australia who have the momentum and South Africa who don't. What does that say ability sport and the World Cup?
AARON FINCH: Well, it says a lot about sport. You can never take anything for granted and I think when you're -- that's just in general. When you're playing well, you need to keep continuing to improve and make sure that you are doing everything in your power to help everyone around you improve because the competition overtakes you pretty quickly if you sit still.

I think what's changed for us over the last little while is our ability to win the key moments in games. The ability for somebody under any circumstances to stand up and put their hand up and play a key role to help win a game for Australia, so I think that's where it's come from.

And that's not saying that going back a bit further that wasn't happening. It was probably just guys would get the team into a position to win a game and then we wouldn't grab that key opportunity. So I think for me it's been about having a bit more experience around the group and guys who have been in World Cups, in tight series, in high-pressure environments where they have got the job done before.

So there's that real belief in the group and in each individual that when their time is required, that they will stand up and do the job for Australia.

Q. Aaron, is it any extra emotional for David and Steven to play this game against South Africa, playing against them again? Is it possible to move on from what happened last year?
AARON FINCH: I think everyone's moved on. There's definitely never any more or less motivation than international cricket itself. It's a World Cup. It's coming to the business end of the World Cup. There's not much more motivation needed from that. I think -- well, from my point of view, a lot of majority of people have moved on from it (smiling).

Q. I was pulling up some stats before and I had you guys as the best fielding team so far. Can I have your thoughts based on those metrics? How have you assessed the fielding standard and how much emphasis do you put on that as a team?
AARON FINCH: We put a lot of emphasis on our fielding. We pride ourselves on it. We work very hard on it. We are judged extremely hard from our coaches, JL, Punter, Hadds, on our fielding, and it is not always the outcome. It's just about the intent, the intent with which you throw the ball, you attack the ball, cutting off ones in the circle.

So it's always been a big part of our DNA of how we play our best one-day cricket and it says a lot about the attitude that the team brings on that day.

We know when we are playing our best we are in the ring, we are cutting off ones, we are making the opposition feel uncomfortable with our movement in the ring and just angles that we are moving.

So we have always prided ourselves on it and touch wood, it's been very good in this tournament so far and there's been a lot of work that's gone into that over quite a long period of time. A lot of blood, sweat and tears in some fielding sessions that have happened over the last couple of months in particular.

But, yeah, it's -- fielding is great fun when you are doing it well and I think that is one thing. If you look around our group, we have got some of the best fielders in the world. Obviously Davey is not throwing like he was a few years ago, but Maxxy is as good as anyone in the world, Smithy is right up there. Nathan Lyon is seriously as good as anyone. And when you have got a lot of guys that can field in a lot of different positions, I think that inner circle becomes really crucial and we are able to create a lot of energy and a lot of indecision in the ring.

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