Legendary all-rounder Shane Watson wants Cricket Australia (CA) to fully back skipper Aaron Finch as the side prepares to defend the T20 World Cup title won last year, with the two-time ICC World Cup-winner saying the 35-year-old veteran opener's value to the team extends way beyond his runs.
Finch has been going through a lean phase for the last one year, with the top-order batter retiring from ODI cricket recently owing to poor form, and there has been talk about young all-rounder Cameron Green being prepared for the World Cup at home.
However, Watson believes the veteran right-hander should remain in Australia's first choice XI. "Finch is such an incredibly important part of this Australian team being the captain," Watson said on The ICC Review.
"He has been given the full support of the selectors and coach as well. So for me, everyone's got their fingers crossed that it's all able to click for him during this T20 World Cup because, firstly, it is such an important role that he plays in the powerplay opening the batting and, secondly, as a leader, as the captain making decisions under pressure.
"It's very important that there is no innuendo or pressure around him in terms of his position in the team… from an Australian point of view, I've got my fingers crossed that he will be fit and firing," added Watson.
Watson also feels Green, who gave a preview of his destructive power during the recently-concluded three-match T20I series in India, should only feature in the T20 World Cup if an injury occurs to a key player.
The 41-year-old Watson, one of Australia's best white-ball players of all time who helped his country win the 2007 ICC World Cup in the West Indies and then again eight years later on home soil, added if someone like Marcus Stoinis doesn't recover completely from injury or if Mitchell Marsh continues to carry a niggle, Green could be given a chance in the XI.
"The only time I think he should be coming into the squad is if someone gets injured or they don't recover from their injury," Watson said. "Marcus Stoinis, if he doesn't recover fully from his injury or Mitchell Marsh for example, if they don't recover from their niggles that they've had in the lead-up to this T20 World Cup, then absolutely (Green is) the first one picked."
Teams have up until October 9 to change with their final squads for the World Cup. Australia take on the West Indies in a two-match series in Queensland beginning October 5 prior to that final cut-off date.20221004-094001