Finch Prepares for His Last Match as T20 Career Comes To an End

Aaron Finch

The former Australian captain has smashed more than 11,000 runs across the format

Vishal Singh Jan. 12, 2024

Aaron Finch may be more emotional about parting ways with the BBL and Melbourne Renegades than retiring from international cricket for Australia as he prepares for his final professional match in Saturday night's Melbourne derby.

Despite having one year left on his Renegades contract, Finch announced his retirement from professional cricket. He has appeared in just four games for the Renegades this season and hasn't appeared since injuring his lower back on Dec 23.

He was available to play after recovering from this injury, but was not selected. However, with the Renegades eliminated in the final, they were given a farewell match against Melbourne Stars at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, with a crowd of more than 30,000 expected to bid farewell to one of the BBL's iconic figures.

Although Finch is retiring, he played for the club in each of the 13 BBL seasons and is the competition's second-leading scorer behind Chris Lynn, as well as the Renegades' record holder. He led the team to their only BBL title as captain in the 2018/19 season.

He is also the seventh-highest run scorer in his entire T20 cricket. Finch revealed that he did not get too emotional during the final ODI cricket match of 2022. He said there is no T20I bye as he announced his retirement a few months after his last match, but the BBL bye will be different.

AF

I haven't got emotional around any of my retirements, which is quite strange
But maybe tomorrow I will. This has been a huge part of mine and my family's life for the last 13 years and have put as much time and effort into it as I can and, yeah, it'll be sad, no doubt
~Finch said on Friday
"But it's time to move on and the next generation of players coming through are seriously good. So it's in good hands."

Finch said it was tough, not to be selected even though he was fit and available for most of the season. He admitted that just the transition from international cricket to franchise cricket was difficult.

"When you're no longer captain, I guess that's taken out of your hands a bit as well because you're not in selection," he said. "It's been difficult no doubt. It's been something that I've been lucky with throughout my career actually that it hasn't happened a huge amount of times. But to finish up here at Marvel will be special as well.

"From a playing point of view, once you go from hitting balls day in day out, hundreds of balls, 1000s of balls a week to then it, not becomes your second priority, but you just don't have the time or the resources to hit as many balls as you would want.
"Then it takes a bit more catching up to do so. That's probably been the most difficult part to keep playing in franchises, but to not be in a system where you have access to a lot of resources."

Finch described the 2018-19 season title as his biggest achievement in the BBL but said he was happy to play home games at Marvel Stadium under roof, even if it wasn't the most popular venue among BBL players. He added that he loved doing it.

"The title win was unbelievable," Finch said. "Especially against the Stars in a game where they well and truly had one hand, almost two hands on the trophy, and to drag it back and win that game was really special.
"I think just overall just getting to play here. It's such an unusual venue for cricket and we're the only team that does play cricket here. There's no other games, no international games or anything that happens so it's really cool."

Adam Zampa said -

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Finch's Renegades team and Australian player Adam Zampa said players should be grateful for Finch's contribution to the competition.

He's one of those inaugural players from the first year that kind of the competition was built around," Zampa said. "I don't think the BBL would have the position it does without players like Finchy. He's been a mainstay of the Renegades for 13 years now and his contribution, we'll always be grateful for players like him in particular. It's exciting to kind of have this opportunity to say goodbye to him. ~Zampa

Marcus Stoinis -

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Stars all-rounder Marcus Stoinis also played almost every limited-overs cricket game for Australia, including winning the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates under Finch's guidance. He was full of praise for Finch's contribution to his career.

He's been great for the BBL, been great for the Renegades, Victorian cricket and Australian cricket," Stoinis said. "For us, we've got a different lens in that he helped nurture us through our early stages of playing for Australia. He captained us pretty much the whole time. He was the one that, in those first games where we weren't feeling comfortable within ourselves, he threw us the ball, kept us going, educated us
As much as he's in the opposition I'm glad that it's working out that I get to play in the game that is his farewell because he deserves a farewell. I do hope we win. But he deserves to have a great night

Finch is likely to appear full-time in the commentary box after Saturday night's bye but is excited about the future of the BBL, which has been revived this season.

"I think the fact that it's back to 10 games now is a really good thing," Finch said. "That just puts an emphasis on every single game and with more Test players playing [next year], the amount of Australian cricketers playing, that are the best in the world, is better for the competition and I think in turn that will then attract more internationals, better internationals, because the whole standard of the competition goes up.
"So that's something to be really excited about. Over the last 13 years, the young players come in and have a bigger impact straightaway than probably what they used to.
"It's going to go from strength to strength again. I think it's a really exciting time for BBL."