Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
Aaron Finch learned an important lesson in captaincy over the course of Australia's Twenty20 series victory over South Africa - the best combination for the team may not always coincide with the wishes of his team-mates.
In a candid admission, Finch has said that he miscalculated at the start of the three-match series by choosing Cameron White at the top of the order - as was his fellow Victorian's preference after a productive year as a T20 opener - thus leaving Ben Dunk and Nathan Reardon as a nervous middle-order duo.
Their rapid dismissals in Adelaide were a major reason for the hosts' heavy opening loss, and Finch conceded that he and the interim coach Trevor Bayliss re-thought the team's strategy before Melbourne. White was demoted to the middle order and came through in Sydney with a cool innings, built on his vast experience in the format.
"When we looked down the list in the first game, to have two debutants, and two left-handers as well, batting four and five probably wasn't ideal," Finch said. "It was probably something we didn't spend enough time thinking about in the lead-up to the first game, probably took for granted in international cricket. Guys coming in and making their debut, we understand they're going to be nervous so probably didn't take that into account.
"Dunky's been successful opening the batting and Cam's had a lot of experience batting in the middle order so we felt that made for a little more of a balanced team, gave our batting more depth, and experience in the middle order ... as we saw it takes a cool head under pressure to get the job done and, unfortunately for Cam, it's paid off and he might not be at the top of the order again."
The tactical tweak was a critical one in allowing Australia to wriggle past South Africa, and Finch was relieved to have done so after such a poor start. "It wasn't ideal to start the way we did," Finch said. "We got absolutely smashed in Adelaide.
"But the way we bounced back especially in Melbourne with a pretty clinical performance I thought was outstanding and then tonight to play a pretty messy game but get across the line showed character in the group and showed Cameron's played a lot of games and is very experienced."
For his part, White did not shy away from his desire to open the batting in T20 matches, but agreed his years at Nos 4, 5 and 6 had helped him in a nervy finish at Stadium Australia. The national selector Mark Waugh was watching, and it may yet be as a middle-order operative that White is given the chance to audition for a World Cup berth.
"I enjoy batting at the top of the order, but anytime you get an opportunity to play for Australia I'm happy to bat wherever I'm asked," he said. "It's not something that's unfamiliar to me, I've played probably the first three quarters of my T20 and one-day career batting in the middle around four, five or six, but I enjoy batting at the top of the order.
"I've said a little bit over the last month or so the one-day team is a really hard one to get into, there's some real good players in there, but I'm no different to any bloke who's playing Matador Cup or now Sheffield Shield. You've just got to make as many runs as you can, be in form when the squad's picked and hopefully get a chance."
One of Finch, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, George Bailey or Steve Smith would have to fall by the wayside to grant White a chance. Nonetheless, Finch could attest to White's value, and to that of a well-balanced batting order.
"He's been in great touch in all forms of cricket for about two-and-a-half years now so there's no reason why he wouldn't be the next guy picked if something was to happen," Finch said. "I'm sure if he did come in and fill a spot there he'd do the job."
Australia vs South Africa
South Africa tour of Australia [November 2014]