Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (File photo| PTI)
Australia limited-overs skipper Aaron Finch (File photo| PTI)

Aaron Finch, 35-year-old Australia’s limited-overs captain, hopes his team can bring some joy to cricket fans in Sri Lanka amid the island nation’s worst financial crisis in over seven decades.

Australia cricketers had voiced some ethical concerns about the situation in Sri Lanka, where demonstrations have roiled the country since late March, but they arrived on Wednesday for eight limited-overs matches and two tests over the next six weeks.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Aaron Finch Said Australian Team Hopes To Bring Joy And Entertainment To Crisis-Hit Sri Lankan People In The Tour

Pat Cummins leads a 16-man group to play in the two-Test series in Galle, while Aaron Finch heads an extended white-ball group. After losing his place at the top of the order to Usman Khawaja during the Australian summer, Marcus Harris has missed out on a place in the Test squad altogether. Pat Cummins will miss the T20 leg in preparation for the Tests and ODIs, while Adam Zampa will miss the tour for the birth of his first child.

 “We are here to play cricket. Hopefully, we can bring some joy, some entertainment to Sri Lanka … This is the first time we’re here since 2016, which is such a long gap,” Aaron Finch said.

“It’s such a special place to tour. The hospitality that you get here, the friendliness, and their love for the game is unbelievable,” Aaron Finch said.

Australia vs Sri Lanka
Australia vs Sri Lanka. Image Credits: ICC

The protests and frequent power cuts in Sri Lanka as a result of the economic crisis have led to some questions over day-night games.

Asked if they were confident about those games, Finch said: “It’s well and truly above my pay grade. But all that stuff was ticked off between the two boards and the governments before the tour went ahead. Whether they shift the games to day games, I’m not sure what’s going to happen … but over the last week or so, I haven’t heard any complaints (from teammates).”

Australia begins their tour on Tuesday with the first of their three Twenty20 matches against a Sri Lanka team ranked ninth in this format.

Aaron Finch Reckons Sri Lanka Are A Dangerous Side As Australia Had A Couple Of Close Series Against The Islanders

Aaron Finch, who led Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title last year, ruled out any complacency against a home side containing batter Kusal Mendis and spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.

“We had a couple of close series against them … they are a very dangerous side,” Finch said.

“If you just look at the top order, you’ve got Kusal there who can be as damaging as anyone on his day and obviously Hasaranga has had an unbelievable couple of years in T20 cricket.”

Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga. (Getty Images)
Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga. (Getty Images)

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has named an 18-member squad for their upcoming 3-match T20I series against Australia at home starting on June 7, Tuesday. Dasun Shanaka will be leading a side filled with brimming youngsters and a couple of players who are coming off a good season in the IPL 2022 edition that concluded recently.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa will be expected to play at No. 3 after impressive outings for Punjab Kings (PBKS) while Wanindu Hasaranga of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who finished with 26 wickets, the second-highest in the league are in the squad. Avishka Fernando and Kusal Perera remain unavailable for selection through injury.

Top-order batter Nuwanidu Fernando, and right-arm seamer Matheesha Pathirana have broken into Sri Lanka’s T20I squad, for the forthcoming series against Australia. However, there are no places for all-rounder Dhananajaya de Silva, fast bowler Lahiru Kumara, or wicketkeeper batters Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella. Kusal Mendis is likely to take the gloves.
Matheesha Pathirana is actually one of two round-arm bowlers in this Sri Lanka squad. Nuwan Thushara, who played two T20Is earlier in the year, is also in the squad. They are joined on the pace front by Dushmantha Chameera, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, and Kasun Rajitha, who recently made a successful return from injury in the Test format.
Tour Itinerary 

7 June: First T20I, Colombo
8 June: Second T20I, Colombo
11 June: Third T20I, Kandy
14 June: First ODI, Kandy
16 June: Second ODI, Kandy
19 June: Third ODI, Colombo
21 June: Fourth ODI, Colombo
24 June: Fifth ODI, Colombo
29 June-July 3: First Test, Galle
8-12 July: Second Test, Galle