AARON FINCH has warned his Yorkshire team-mates against taking too many risks when facing Lancashire’s deadly Pakistani bowler Junaid Khan when the two sides meet at Headingley tonight.
A capacity 16,200 crowd is set for a mouthwatering NatWest T20 Blast clash between the Vikings and the Lightning, who have both started their respective campaigns well and are looking to enhance their quarter-final credentials.
Left-arm pace bowler Khan heads into the clash riding the crest of a wave both on and off the field. While he has taken 14 wickets from seven matches, he got engaged to a Bradford girl called Khansa last week.
"Junaid's a super bowler, and with him and Kabir Ali bowling at the death, it's hard to rely on getting too many runs off them because they're such great yorker bowlers,” said Finch.
“In that regard, you have to be smart with how you approach them up front.
“They're a big danger at the start because they can move the ball through the air, which is the biggest challenge in the shortest form.
“I suppose it's about taking your medicine and not looking to take as big a risks against them guys. Hopefully there's one or two other bowlers in the attack who you can line up and go at quite hard.”
Finch smashed 88 off 55 balls in a win against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford earlier this month, and he played Khan better than any other batsman has so far this summer.
“I was a bit inconsistent at the start,” he reflected. “I was trying to hit the ball a bit too hard. I was a bit one-paced. But as I continued through my innings, I thought I played reasonably well and hit the gaps well. It was a nice innings.
“It will be another great game. They will be out for some revenge at our home ground. It will be exciting. There will be a hangover from the Test match, and the people of Leeds and Yorkshire will be right behind us.”
It is not only Khan that Finch is wary of tonight because we all know just how dangerous Jos Buttler can be in limited overs cricket.
Finch and Buttler were winter team-mates with the Melbourne Renegades T20 team, and Finch said: "Jos is a super talent. He's up there with the cleanest hitters of a ball I've ever seen.
“He hits good bowling, which is tough. There's a few good players of average bowling knocking around, but he's a super player of good bowling.”
Should Yorkshire reach the quarter-finals, it is likely that Finch would be unavailable to them because he is due to head back to Australia for a national training camp at the end of next month.
But the Victorian has expressed his wish to return to Headingley for a second spell in the future.
“I would love to come back here,” he added. “The county has been fantastic to me. Nothing has been too hard from their point of view. Everything has run smoothly, and I have loved being around the boys. They are a great bunch of lads.
“We'll see down the track. If the opportunity comes up to return, I'd definitely jump at it.”
Yorks 14 v Lancs: Gale c, Bairstow, Bresnan, Finch, Hodd, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Robinson, Sidebottom.