London: Aaron Finch has revealed the depths of despair he endured during a home summer gone wrong but says advice from a former Test all-rounder helped him re-emerge as a force on the world stage.
Finch is the leading run-scorer in one-day international cricket this year and through the ongoing World Cup, where he has 343 runs at 68.6 in five innings. The Australian skipper's tournament reached a new high on Sunday morning (AEST) when he plundered 153 off 132 deliveries against Sri Lanka in an 87-run win.
Incensed when dismissed for 82 against Pakistan last week, Finch rebounded by equalling his best score in 114 one-day internationals, producing the best score by an Australian captain at a World Cup, and it was only the second ODI century at the Oval by an Australian captain since Greg Chappell in 1977.
This joy was a long way from the frustration of a home summer, when Finch struggled against India's fast bowlers and their fuller deliveries.
He lost his Test spot come Sydney and also struggled for runs in ODI cricket and even in the Big Bash League, sparking suggestions his spot in the World Cup could be in doubt.
That changed through ODI tours of India and the United Arab Emirates, the latter against Pakistan, when he had 451 runs at 112.75
"I probably just changed my mindset a little bit, more than anything. I started to doubt my game a lot before that in the Australian summer and there were a lot of times when I was just questioning every single decision that I was making, whether it was technical, mental, physical," he said.
"Everything that I could, that I was doing, I was just questioning because you're looking for an answer that you don't know what the answer is. So it can be really tough at times, when you don't know what the end result is but you're searching so hard for something you don't know."
Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie, now coach of county side Sussex, praised Finch's technique against Sri Lanka.
"He has been playing the ball late and under his eyes, by playing the ball late and under his eyes allows him to hit the straight ball," he said.
Finch revealed advice from Victorian and Renegades coach Andrew McDonald, the former Australian all-rounder who is likely to be in the running to coach England later this year, had been priceless.
"So for me, I was looking for everything other than just the most basic thing, which is watch the ball and react to it. I mean, you can butter it up any way, but I was just going back to the basics, going back, doing a little bit of mental work on changing my mindset to just be positive," he said.
"And Andrew McDonald always says to me: 'If you get caught at mid-on or you get caught at first slip, you're still out, so play your natural game'."
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