AARON FINCH believes Yorkshire have been too conservative in T20 cricket and insists they must release the shackles to get their stuttering campaign back on track.
The Australia T20 captain said they need to start “playing in the right way” to give themselves a fighting chance of winning the competition.
Yorkshire go into tonight’s match against Leicestershire at Grace Road languishing in the lower part of the North Group after three wins and four defeats at the halfway point of the group stage.
It leaves them with little margin for error as they seek to justify their tag as one of the pre-tournament favourites, and Finch feels they need to be more adventurous.
“We’ve got to start playing in the right way,” said Finch, who has been passed fit for tonight’s contest just five days after suffering a bruised lung while playing for the Yorkshire second XI.
“I think, at the moment, we’ve been a little bit conservative, myself included, and sometimes you’ve just got to take the shackles off and look to give it a smack.
“We’re on the ropes a little bit in the T20 tournament, and we haven’t really played our best so far. But we’ve still got plenty of time left in the competition, and it’s important that we get some momentum against Leicester and then really push on.”
Finch believes it boils down to a question of playing without fear.
The Yorkshire coaches have encouraged an attacking strategy throughout, the type that Finch is advocating now, but that can be easier said than done when the side is struggling.
“Twenty20 is a bit more complicated than just getting out there and smacking it,” said Finch, who holds the record for the highest T20 international score – 156 against England at Southampton in 2013.
“It’s about going in with the right mind set, which is obviously attacking in T20, but it’s also about having the courage to commit to your plans.
“When things aren’t going well, it’s the toughest time to really stick to your plans and to commit to them.
“But we’ve got some quality players, and we’ve got no doubt that we can turn it around.”
Finch is determined to find form after scores of 5, 6 and 30 since rejoining the club earlier this month.
The 28-year-old is one of the world’s most destructive players and his presence in the side – along with that of Australia’s Glenn Maxwell – means Yorkshire have no need to panic despite their lowly position. “In a game like T20 that is so short and sharp, you have to have maximum impact,” said Finch.
“So far, I haven’t done it – I’ve been poor.
“Maxwell played an outstanding innings against Notts, when he and Andrew Hodd played really well.
“But I’m feeling confident in myself, and hopefully a big score is just around the corner.”
Finch’s quest for form and confidence after a recent hamstring injury led to him turning out for the Yorkshire second team against Worcestershire at Barnt Green on Monday.
But things did not go to plan as he got struck in the ribs while batting, causing him to cough up blood and necessitating a trip to Redditch Hospital
“It was quite a strange one and a little bit scary to be fair,” said Finch, who retired hurt on 19 after being hit by a delivery from pace man Chris Russell.
“I was a bit early on an attempted pull shot and nicked the ball into my ribs.
“I went off to A&E and had a scan, and then I had a follow-up.
“It was just a bit of lung bruising, which wasn’t ideal and kept me off my feet for a couple of days.”
Finch’s availability tonight boosts a Yorkshire team who welcome back England’s Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid.
There is no Adam Lyth or Gary Ballance, who played in this week’s County Championship match against Notts, and who tomorrow head to Spain to join England’s pre-Ashes training camp.
Yorkshire have dropped Tim Bresnan, whose T20 form has contrasted with his strong performances in Championship cricket.
Ben Coad, the 21-year-old seamer, is preferred in a 13-man squad and is in contention for his T20 debut.
Explaining Bresnan’s omission, first-team coach Jason Gillespie said: “Tim has not performed as well as we know he can with the ball in the T20 competition and we see this as a good opportunity to give someone else a go.
“With a heavy month of cricket coming up, we also see benefit in Tim having an extra day of downtime before our County Championship match at Durham starting on Sunday.”
Yorkshire squad v Leicestershire: Bairstow, Coad, Finch, Fisher, Gale (captain), Gibson, Hodd, Leaning, Maxwell, Patterson, Pyrah, Rashid, Rhodes.