Aaron Finch has been giving Australia rapid starts at the World Cup, but he has all but given up on his professional stay in England extending past mid-July and into the Ashes. On the eve of Australia's fifth World Cup match, against Sri Lanka at The Oval, Finch was asked if he had any hopes of a surprise call-up. "I doubt it," he answered. And that "the short answer is no".
However, Finch was glowing in appreciation of the batsmen who have taken the place he vacated at the top of the Test batting order after the series against India. He was asked whether he at least hoped to play the practice match, which happens to be before the selection for the Ashes. "I haven't honestly thought about it whatsoever," Finch said. "I'm not sure what they are planning with the squad or anything like that. Obviously, I'd love to play if the opportunity comes up. I think I'm way down the list, having missed my opportunity throughout the summer.
"But the guys who've come in, the young guys came and played really well. Kurtis Patterson played beautifully. Heady [Travis Head] has done a great job. We saw him evolve over the summer and change his game or change his mental attitude, I think, really quickly to Test cricket, which was a real positive from such a young guy.
"Will Pucovski, he's an absolute superstar in the making. I think that between them guys, and you've got [Cameron] Bancroft who started off the summer over here really well. Joe Burns, unfortunately, had to go home for some personal reasons. But they are all guys that are right there in the mix with Steve [Smith] and Dave [Warner] coming back into the frame, as well.
"The short answer is, no. I would love; of course I'd love to. But the young guys have come in and done such a good job, and they have got such bright futures, all of them. Whether they all get picked or whether one or two misses out, I don't think that will be the end of the world for them.
"Yes, there will be some short-term disappointment, but they are going to have long careers, all of them, I can tell you. There's some seriously good players in Australia, especially them young guys who have had a little taste. Will missed out on selection for two Tests against Sri Lanka. But they are all seriously good players. I think them guys will be really well placed to take the spot for the Ashes and make it their own for a long time."