Aaron Finch: Australia's new coach will have to manage transition in limited-overs teams
The one-day series in Pakistan is a chance to assess some younger players ahead of the ODI World Cup
Australia's new men's head coach is still to be confirmed but limited-overs captain Aaron Finch believes the successful candidate will need to oversee a transition period for the white-ball teams with the 2023 ODI World Cup looming as a natural endpoint for some senior players.
Cricket Australia has quietly undertaken a search for a new senior coach over the last month with the aid of a recruitment firm, following the messy departure of the previous coach Justin Langer.
Interim coach Andrew McDonald is the warm favourite to take on the role full time but the shape of the coaching structure could well determine who ultimately takes the role or roles should CA choose to split the head coaching posts along red and white-ball lines.
Finch confirmed he is eyeing the ODI World Cup in India next year as the endpoint of his international career "should he get there". More than half of Australia's first-choice team will be well over the age of 30 by the end of that tournament.
Finch is about to lead a young ODI and T20I squad to Pakistan with David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson all missing.
'The boys absolutely love him' - Pat Cummins praises interim coach Andrew McDonald
Smith ruled of limited-overs matches against Pakistan due to elbow issue
Opportunity knocks: Australia's ODI World Cup planning looms into view
Hales opts out of IPL 2022, KKR bring in Finch as replacement
Kane Richardson ruled out of Pakistan tour with hamstring injury
Finch revealed he had a couple of meetings with the recruiting firm that is conducting the coaching search although he was not consulted who he thinks should be the coach.
"That was just more on my thoughts on where the team's at at the moment and where we see the team going in the future over particularly the next 18 months to the 50-over World Cup," Finch said.
"I think it's a really interesting transition. It will be over the next probably two years because no doubt we've got a very experienced side at the moment when everyone is available, or a very experienced squad, so no doubt over the next couple of years there'll be quite a bit of turnover. Having someone who can manage that transition of players will be really important."
The white-ball players not in the Test squad have gathered in Melbourne to train prior to travelling to Lahore for the three ODIs and one T20I with former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori taking charge of their preparation as he prepares to join Australia's coaching staff for the limited-overs portion of the tour in a temporary assistant coaching role.
Australia have only played three ODIs since December 2020 and just 14 since the 2019 World Cup. Finch himself hasn't played since December 2020 having missed last year's three ODIs in the West Indies due to a knee injury.
Alex Carey captained the team, while Josh Philippe, Moises Henriques, Matthew Wade, Ashton Turner and Dan Christian all played in Australia's last ODI team yet none were selected for the upcoming tour of Pakistan despite a large number of absentees. Australia are using the tour to begin their planning towards the ODI World Cup.
"I think with a lot of the decisions that are being made around the makeup of the squads, that's with an eye to the 50-over World Cup and trying to link anything that we do back to giving us as much information as we can get for that tournament," Finch said. "But the main goal is to still win the series. You pick a side that you think can win every game and a squad that can win every series. That'll be tough no doubt. Pakistan are a great side."
Finch himself is looking forward to getting back to 50-over cricket after a lean run in T20Is recently. He scored just 78 runs in five T20Is against Sri Lanka and battled for rhythm throughout the series. He played two 50-over Marsh Cup games for Victoria in recent weeks but after a first-ball duck against Tasmania, he produced a fighting 67 against Western Australia.
"I feel really good," Finch said. "I feel as though I'm batting quite well. It was a difficult wicket out here at the Junction to play against a really good WA attack, and to be able to get 60-odd on that wicket was nice. Just a couple of slight technical tinkers that I've been trying to work on since the Big Bash. But they feel like they're starting to bed down nicely."
Finch will also join Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL after the tour of Pakistan as a replacement player for Alex Hales.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo