Ponting then stepped back from the T20 role in the wake of the scandal citing that new coach Langer should take charge of the team in all three formats for continuity, as Australia tried to rebuild its culture within the men’s team. Ponting returned to the coaching group for the 2019 World Cup.
Finch took over as captain and had a tough initiation losing four straight series before leading the side to a share of the series against India at home and an impressive 2-0 success in India in January. Intriguingly though, that side did not feature Australia’s vice-captain Alex Carey, who subsequently had an outstanding 50-over World Cup, as Peter Handscomb kept wicket and Glenn Maxwell starred with the bat.
The revamped domestic 50-over competition is another key plank of Australia’s planning. The tournament is no longer played in a single month-long block on suburban club grounds in September-October prior to the Sheffield Shield season starting. It will now run deep into November with some games played in between Shield fixtures.
“I think it is a really good thing,” Finch said. “In the past having it as a full block, for a lot of players, with there not being any one-day cricket from the end of the one-day comp through to mid-January, it can be tough to really select guys and guys to put their name forward who did have a good one-day comp because it’s so far apart. So this year I think the balance is as good as it’s been for a long time now.
Cricket Australia also made a concerted effort to schedule domestic 50-over games back on international venues to give players more exposure to those venues. Finch said this was crucial to prepare players for international cricket.
“I think it’s huge,” he said. “To turn up for Australia and having guys not having played a game at international venues it’s surprising at times but it’s also part of the scheduling. So I think that is a great addition, that there will be more one-day games.
“Guys will have more access to playing one-day cricket on the main venues, which at the end of the day when you’re pushing for selection for Australia and you finally get the call up to come to a ground where you’ve played before and you feel comfortable is really important. There’s a lot of nerves that go around when you’re lining up for Australia for the first time so as comfortable as you can make it around the environment is really important.”