Aaron Finch suffered "huge anxiety" over World Cup place during Australia slump

The opener will lead the squad in England this summer but had major doubts over his place since replacing Steve Smith as one-day skipper


Australia captain Aaron Finch battled with mental demons amid a poor run of form which led to him having doubts over his World Cup place.

The 32-year-old will lead attempts to win the showcase tournament for the fifth time in England, having replaced Steve Smith as skipper in the wake of the ball-tampering affair.

But the burden appeared to sit heavily on the Victorian's shoulders. Having been given an opportunity in the Test team he was dropped during the series defeat to India after just two half-centuries in 10 innings.

Those troubles transferred themselves to the one-day game - a format where Finch built his reputation - with a run of 12 outings without a century leading to doubts over his role this summer.

A 93 against India in Ranchi triggered a return to form, however, with successive hundreds in the five-match series whitewash against Pakistan seeing him finish as the leading run-scorer, and cementing his place in the squad.


In a candid interview with Melbourne radio station SEN, Finch has delivered an insight into the anguish he suffered during his run-drought and how he questioned his own ability.

"(I was feeling) huge anxiety based on a World Cup coming up, being captain of the side and not having the output I wanted," he said.

"I was getting really frustrated that, again, I was preparing and doing everything I thought I could to succeed but it just wasn’t happening. I don’t know why.

"It was probably just my own mindset, I was starting to think a bit negatively.

"The support I got from the players and coaches was unbelievable, but still in the back of your mind you think: ‘there’s a World Cup not far away, as a captain of the side I could be left out’. Then you start putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to perform.

"(Recent good form) just re-assured me that I still am a pretty good player. You don’t lose your skill overnight."


Smith is fit and back in the international fold for Australia

Finch is joined by the recalled David Warner and Smith, both of whom have been impressing in the Indian Premier League, in the Baggy Green's 15-man squad for the tournament which begins against Afghanistan on June 1.

Smith underwent elbow surgery before the start of the competition and appeared to land awkwardly on the joint when he took a fine catch to dismiss international colleague Warner for the Rajasthan Royals.

But the 29-year-old, whose spell in the IPL is now over as he begins preparations for the World Cup, has calmed any fears he has suffered a recurrence of the injury.

"All good, I just landed on it quite heavily, more heavily than I had landed on it previously," Smith explained.

"From the surgery, I have still got some scar tissue and stuff in there and just the impact of the landing affected it a little bit, but there is nothing wrong with it, all good."




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