JASON GILLESPIE believes new signing Aaron Finch and Yorkshire legend Darren Lehmann are peas from the same pod.
The Yorkshire first-team coach said Australian batsman Finch and his national coach Lehmann are “almost identical characters”.
His comments come ahead of today’s NatWest T20 Blast match against Derbyshire at Headingley in which Finch will make his Yorkshire debut.
Former Australian fast bowler Gillespie said: “The boys are already calling Finchy ‘Boof Mark Two’ (‘Boof’ is Lehmann’s nickname with reference to his big-hitting style).
“It’s pretty appropriate really because the two of them are almost identical characters.
“Finchy is a very similar personality to ‘Boof’ and they get along well and have a similar attitude towards the game.
“Obviously ‘Boof’ spoke very highly of Yorkshire when Finchy was in the process of joining our club, and we’re really excited about having him here.”
Finch, who in common with Lehmann enjoys a drink and a smoke, arrived in England on Sunday after a stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League.
Lehmann – who scored 8,871 first-class runs for Yorkshire at 68.76 between 1997 and 2006 – believes the move will benefit all concerned and encouraged Finch to join a county managed by his great friend Gillespie.
Although Finch has been primarily recruited for T20, he will also play County Championship cricket while Yorkshire’s main overseas player, New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson, is away.
Williamson left yesterday for the West Indies to join his country’s six-week tour and does not return until July 8.
“Aaron is keen to play first-class cricket as well as T20 and he’ll bring a lot of positivity to the dressing room,” said Gillespie.
“The aim of the game is to score runs and that’s how Aaron sees it in terms of the attacking way that he plays.
“He’s very positive with his strokeplay and a destructive batsman. Hopefully, it can click for him and he can put in some good performances.”
Finch, 27, has spent the past few days acclimatising to English conditions.
He has taken part in several net sessions and, according to Gillespie, is already part of the furniture.
“In the short time he’s been here, he’s made himself at home,” he said. “He’s had a couple of hits and done a bit of work, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action.
“The lads are delighted to have him here and I think he’s going to fit in really well. Hopefully, the move will pay off for all concerned.”
Finch is confident he can handle the pressure of expectation that has come with his signing.
Yorkshire have naturally made much of capturing the world’s No 1-ranked T20 international batsman and have referred in various promotional material and on social media to what they have termed the ‘Finch Factor’.
“I’m confident enough to be able to deal with the pressures,” said Finch.
“When you play IPL, there’s a lot of pressure and there’s a lot of pressure here and in the Big Bash, too.
“It becomes second nature after a while and you expect it but you also have to embrace it.
“When you try and fight it, that’s when you get into trouble.”
Finch is relishing his first match for Yorkshire. “I’m very excited about my opening game. It’s an honour to play for this county and hopefully I can make a difference. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my T20 game. I’ve got confidence in my ability to play how I want to play – and, hopefully, that should be good enough.”
Finch will be looking to help Yorkshire to their first T20 win at the third attempt.
Yorkshire lost by three wickets against holders Northamptonshire in their opening game and took one point from a rained-off match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last Friday.
“We weren’t at our best against Northants,” admitted Gillespie. “Now we need to get some wins on the board. We just need to make sure we play to our strengths and have a real positive attitude.
“We want to play incredibly positive cricket, especially in T20, and that’s hopefully what you’ll see against Derbyshire.”
Yorkshire have named a 14-man squad for tonight’s game (5.30pm start). Ryan Sidebottom is likely to be out for a fortnight with a hamstring injury, while Tim Bresnan has returned to England duty.
Bresnan could be released for the Championship match at Northamptonshire, starting tomorrow, if he is again left out of the ODI side.
Yorkshire T20 squad: Bairstow, Brooks, Finch, Gale (capt), Hodd, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Robinson.