London, June 9: On the eve of their World Cup clash with India, Australia captain Aaron Finch on Saturday stoked fire by rating Steve Smith ahead of Virat Kohli as the best batsman in the world across all three formats.
"When you have world-class players coming back into the side, it's unfortunate for the guys who miss out. But Steve (Smith) is the best batter in the world across all three forms of the game in my opinion," Finch said when asked what it meant to have David Warner and Smith back in the fold. MS Dhoni Unfazed by His Glove Controversy; Sweats it Out in the Nets Ahead of IND vs AUS, CWC 2019 (See Pics & Video).
Smith scored 73 in Australia's 15-run victory over the West Indies on Thursday and Finch said it was an example of how the batsman dealt with pressure situations.
"We saw Steve had a really clear plan. He got under the bouncer until he tried to play one around in the 33rd over, I think, and hit it up in the air and nearly got caught. So then he just took that out of his game and again kept ducking under them.
"So that was a really good lesson for all our batters that the best player in the world had shown courage to stick to his game plan for a long time and was successful. He probably swallowed his pride a little bit in terms of having to put a shot away that you'd look to score heavily off in a one-day game," he said.
Asked about Smith's battle with Jasprit Bumrah on the morrow, Finch said: "I think all the guys are as well-prepared mentally and technically as they can be, and it's not about 'in tournament play like this', it's too quick to be tinkering with technique and things like that in my opinion. Well, it is for me anyway.
"Some guys can do it really well and do it quickly. Smith seems to change his technique every couple of balls at times, depending on what he's facing. That's just not a huge strength of mine, to be able to do that."
Finch, however, admitted that tackling Kohli along with Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be a big challenge.
"At times in the past, we have probably let Kohli get off to a bit of a flyer with being just a bit too straight to him or a bit too full or just letting him off the hook early, and we know once he gets into his innings, he is so hard to stop. So you can't afford to play catch-up against great players. Same for Rohit," he said.
The Australian captain further said that even Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan have the ability to inflict damage.
"You can't put too much focus just on two players because Shikhar Dhawan has had some good success against us. Also, we found it tough to get Dhoni out in Australia. When we'd get India into a bit of trouble, he would dig them out of the hole and bat right to the end and bat really deep. Even in the first two ODIs in India, he (Dhoni) was instrumental in getting them across the line," Finch said.
He also said that with the experienced David Warner back in the side, Australia can win the World Cup as they have all the bases covered.
"I think having David, who is so destructive at the top of the order, is great for the side and our batting line-up. We have always believed that we've got a side that can win the World Cup," said Finch.