Three months ago, David Warner and Jonny Bairstow were lighting up the IPL with a record-breaking partnership for Sunrisers Hyderabad. On Tuesday their bromance will be forgotten as they plot each other’s downfall when England and Australia meet at Lord’s. Such is the nature of the modern game where players regularly swap T20 franchise jerseys for national colours.
Bairstow has used his Telegraph column to question the fairness of Australians asking fans to cease booing Warner and Steven Smith in light of previous calls by the then Australia coach Darren Lehmann for fans to show less charity towards England players, Stuart Broad in particular. While that may seem incongruous after their feats as team-mates in India, Aaron Finch says it’s a natural part of the T20 era.
“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,” Finch said.
“I think that’s opened up everyone’s eyes to [the idea that] 99 per cent 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.”
Finch has in some ways had a similar, albeit reversed, relationship with Warner; they have been opponents when playing for their states in domestic competitions in Australia and T20 tournaments abroad, while also combining forces to form a dynamic and aggressive opening partnership for Australia.
“Yeah, I think a bit like anyone who plays with Davey,” Finch said. “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.”
The other facet of the T20 era is that players come back from tournaments into the national side with far more knowledge about franchise teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, something Finch actively aims to exploit.
“Absolutely,” Finch said. “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 up with 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 domestic T20 comps, is that you get to play with so many players that you wouldn’t have had the access to in the past, that you do get to see more of them.”