Cricket World Cup: Aussies need batting mindset shift, Aaron Finch says

Australia needs a “mindset shift” when it comes to batting in India to be any chance of winning the World Cup, according to former captain Aaron Finch.

The five-time champions were undone by spin in a first-up loss to India and while star batter Steve Smith declared their approach would always be decided by the surface, Finch said the Australians needed to take their aggression up a notch.

The former opener, who retired 12 months ago, said the Australians would have been “disappointed” with their batting approach and it needed to change as soon as the second clash with South Africa in Lucknow.

While he said one loss in such a long tournament was “not fatal”, the Australians have left little margin for error.

“Part of it comes down to how India bowled spin, but we also need to look at the way that Australia batted,” Finch said of the opening loss.

“There was a clear plan among the group to be proactive, to try to limit dot balls and rotate strike against what they knew would be a world-class group of spinners.

“There was a bit of a lack of aggression from the Australian batters. I think they’ll be disappointed by the intent they showed and the fact that they weren’t able put any pressure back on India.

“It needs a mindset shift, to look to be on the front foot a little more and take some calculated risks.”

Finch said the Australians had time, with eight more games before the finals, to turn things around but couldn’t wait too long.

“The mood around Australia is still optimistic. With a nine-game group stage, you can afford a little slip-up here and there and it’s not fatal,” he said.

“In the T20 World Cup, we found that losing one game is enough and the margins are so fine. Here you can cope with a couple of losses, you just don’t want them to be too big for net run rate.”

Smith, who was Australia’s top scorer in the opening match with 46, said the Aussies wouldn’t get lost in planning without seeing the surfaces they were playing on after encountering a dry, turning pitch in Chennai.

Australia plays at seven different venues for the remainder of the tournament.

“We’ve talked as a group about playing to the surface that we’re on,” Smith said.

“We might go to the next place, and it might be flat, and we might need to score 350. Playing according to what that surface is, I think that‘s the most important thing to do playing in these conditions,” Smith said.

“In tournament play you don’t want to be peaking too early. You obviously want to do enough to make your way to the finals, but you want to be playing your best cricket at the end.

“Hopefully, we can turn it around and beat South Africa in a few days’ time … they’ve got a good side, it looks like they’re pretty confident at the moment, they’re playing well.”

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