‘The right moment to step down’: Australian batsman Finch calls it a day

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Former Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Opening batter Finch, 36, was Australia’s T20 captain, having retired from one-day internationals in September.

He represented Australia in five Tests, 146 one-day internationals and 103 T20s, leading them to their first T20 World Cup title in 2021.

Finch said it had been “incredible honour” to play for Australia.

He is set to continue playing in domestic T20 competitions, including in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Renegades.

“Realising that I won’t be playing on until the next T20 World Cup in 2024, now is the right moment step down and give the team time to plan and build towards that event,” he said.

Finch is Australia’s highest runscorer in men’s T20s, with 3,120, which puts him sixth in the all-time rankings. He hit two centuries in T20 internationals, finishing with an average of 34.28 and a strike rate of 142.53.

He scored 5,401 runs in ODIs at an average of 39.13, including 17 centuries, and was part of the Australia squad who won the 2015 50-over World Cup.

Aaron Finch is set to continue playing in domestic T20 competitions, including in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Renegades

“Team success is what you play the game for and the maiden T20 World Cup win in 2021 and lifting the ODI World Cup on home soil in 2015 will be the two memories I cherish the most,” he added.

“To be able to represent Australia for 12 years and play with and against some of the greatest players of all time has been an incredible honour.”

Finch has the highest individual score in men’s T20 internationals – 172 off 76 balls against Zimbabwe in 2018 – beating his own record at the time of 156 against England in 2013.

Only India’s Rohit Sharma (182) and New Zealand’s Martin Guptill (173) have hit more than Finch’s 125 sixes in T20 internationals.

Finch made his international debut in a T20 against England in 2011 before playing his first ODI against Sri Lanka two years later. He played all five of his Tests in 2018, scoring two half-centuries at an average of 27.80.

After initially being made T20 captain in 2014, Finch was stripped of the role two years later when Steve Smith became Australia skipper in all three formats.

Finch then took over the white-ball captaincy from Smith in 2018 following the ball-tampering scandal during Australia’s Test series against South Africa.

He led them to the semi-finals of the 2019 50-over World Cup and an eight-wicket win over New Zealand in the 2021 T20 World Cup final in Dubai.

After he was replaced by fast bowler Pat Cummins as ODI captain, Finch continued to lead Australia in the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup on home soil but the defending champions failed to reach the knockout stages.

He captained Australia in 55 ODIs and 76 T20s.

Finch struggled for form in internationals in 2022, averaging just 12.42 in ODIs and 28.44 in T20s.

However, he starred in this year’s BBL, scoring 428 runs to help Melbourne Renegades reach the knockout match, where they lost to Brisbane Heat.

Finch has been one of the most prominent T20 cricketers around the world, having played for nine different franchises in the Indian Premier League and has represented Melbourne Renegades in the BBL since the competition began in 2011.

Cricket Australia chair Dr. Lachlan Henderson congratulated Finch on an “exceptional” international career and said he is one of Australia’s “finest white-ball players”.

He added: “In full flight, there were few batters more powerful than Aaron. As one of only four men’s players to captain Australia to a World Cup victory, Aaron will always have a special place in Australian cricket’s history.” (BBC Sport)

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