Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne may have to wait to make his T20Iinternational debut despite a dazzling start to the tour of England, according to captain Aaron Finch.
Labuschagne, a breakout star of last year’s drawn Ashes campaign in England, scored 100 off 51 balls when opening in a T20 practice game on Tuesday.
But with Finch and David Warner established as an opening pair and star batsman Steve Smith a powerful presence in the top order, the 26-year-old may be unable to force his way into Australia’s side to play England.
The first game in a three-match T20 series between the two top-ranked teams in the format takes place in Southampton on Friday.
“We’re pretty settled with how we structure our T20 side at the moment,” Finch told a conference call on Thursday. “He (Labuschagne) played nicely the other day, but I think he might have to wait a little bit longer in T20 cricket.”
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey struck 107 in the same innings as Labuschagne, while all-rounder Glenn Maxwell hit 108 in a 50-over warm-up match.
Top-ranked T20 side Australia also face England, the world champions in 50-over cricket, in three one-day internationals later this month.
“It’s been a really good hit out the last few days,” said Finch. “Obviously with Maxwell getting a hundred, Marnus, Alex Carey all getting hundreds in two different formats is really pleasing.”
Finch knows the Southampton ground well – he hit a then T20 world record 156 against England at Hampshire’s headquarters in 2013.
“Your defensive bowling becomes really important because it’s a wicket that has a touch more pace than some other wickets around the country,” explained Finch.
“So it gives you the opportunity to hit through the line and take the game on a little bit earlier on in your innings than what you generally would.”
England beat Australia in the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup last year but Finch said his side did not carry scars from that experience.
Asked if this series might serve as a preview for the semi-finals or final of next year’s T20 World Cup in India, Finch added: “I hope so. They (England) have played great cricket in shorter formats for a few years now. They’re a team that make you make decisions really quickly, whether to attack or counter-attack or defend, especially when they’ve got the bat in hand.”
Finch said neither team would make a pre-match gesture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as happened when England and the West Indies took a knee during their Test series earlier this season.
“I’ve spoke to Eoin (Morgan, England captain) and we’re not going to do a specific gesture like has happened in the past,” he said.
“We were really proud to play a game where it’s celebrated all over the world and anyone can play it – it doesn’t matter what race, what religion, what nationality – cricket is the game for everyone and I’m really proud about that. The education around this is more important than a protest.”
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