Aaron Finch admits Australia have under-performed amid ODI rankings slump

Australia have “under-performed dramatically” in ODI cricket over recent months, according to Aaron Finch.

Australia, who will have lost five ODI series in succession if they lose any of the final three matches in the Royal London series, have slipped to sixth position in the ICC ODI team rankings. It is their worst placing since January 1984.

They have also lost seven of their eight most recent ODI encounters against an England side that currently sits at No. 1 in those rankings.

But while Finch, the side’s vice-captain, admits recent results have been “disappointing”, he still feels Australia’s best cricket is “good enough” to beat England.

“No doubt we’ve under-performed dramatically in the last 18 months in one-day cricket,” Finch said. “There’s no shying away from that – you can’t hide the win-loss facts.

“We play well in patches but let the games slip, be it with a couple of poor overs with the ball or little collapses with the bat. It’s nothing new, we do need to put it all together and start to play the more complete game.

“Sixth in the rankings is a fair reflection. We haven’t won any series for a while. We’ve just been outplayed in the last little while as well. That’s been disappointing.”

While Finch is candid about his side’s failings, he feels there is enough time to turn things around ahead of the World Cup – which will be under way this time next year – and has urged patience in Justin Langer’s new coaching regime.

“Justin’s only been in the job a couple of weeks and we’ve been together for two international games and two tour matches,” Finch said. “That’s not a long time to start to change the way he wants us to play, change training habits and technical things.

“When you have new guys in the squad there is a little bit of a feeling-out process. The guys have all done well in patches but not nailed it for long enough. There is inexperience and that has shown in the last 18 months, but the more opportunities they get the more consistent they will become. We have around 23 games until the World Cup, obviously we would love to be winning now but it’s nice to get experience.

“We are putting in a lot of work. But that hasn’t translated into the on-field performance just yet, in terms of wins. There is some separation between training [outcomes] and the game.

“I’m sure the results will come down the track. I’ve got confidence that will happen but, just for now, it would be nice to get a few wins on the board to reinforce that what we’re doing is the right stuff.”

Among the immediate issues facing Australia is how they combat England’s spinners. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have taken five wickets each so far this series – more than any Australia bowler – with Moeen conceding just 4.50 runs per over and Rashid 5.88. By contrast, none of Australia’s spinner – Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar and D’Arcy Short – have taken a wicket. To add some solidity to the Australia middle-order, Finch moved down to No. 5 in Cardiff but failed to score a run.

“We’re doing a little bit of spin work at the moment,” Finch said. “The results probably haven’t been there if you look at Rash and Moeen’s figures in the last couple of games.

“Maybe that’s pressure; maybe that’s the personnel as well. It’s tough to train [to face] someone like Adil Rashid. But we’re confident: we’re all very good players.

“I am very comfortable at No.5. I haven’t done it a hell of a lot in one-day cricket, maybe never, but in the last 18 months in T20, that gives me a better understanding of how to do it. Obviously getting a duck in my first game at No.5 isn’t ideal but we got ourselves in a reasonable position. Over the next 12 months it will be shuffled a bit, trying to find the best combinations, through the middle order. I am prepared to bat wherever the team needs.”

And while Finch admitted England were playing “some good cricket”, he dismissed the suggestion that Australia may try to adopt a similar style.

“England are playing some good cricket, that’s why they are No.1 in the world,” he said. “They play an aggressive brand of cricket, they put you on the back foot early especially with the bat. They have guys who are contributing all through the order. They go ultra-hard up top and rely on their spin a lot through the middle overs.

“I think if we tried to copy that, it would be foolish – because we play in a different style. But we’ve won a lot of World Cups. We’ve got some guys in our changing room that have won them.

“We have full confidence that, if we play to our full ability and push that for 100 overs rather than 60 or 80 overs – because if you give England an opportunity they will take it – our best is still good enough. It’s about doing it more consistently.”

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