Finch, Smith ready to bounce back in ODIs

Andrew McDonald, who is coaching Australia's quarantining stars, says Aaron Finch and Steve Smith are both showing good signs after failing to fire in the IPL.

AARON FINCH of Victoria plays a shot during the Sheffield Shield match at MCG in Melbourne, Australia.
AARON FINCH of Victoria plays a shot during the Sheffield Shield match at MCG in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

Aaron Finch has hit reset and Steve Smith is bracing for a short-pitched salvo as two of Australia's best batsmen seek to bounce back from quiet Indian Premier League campaigns.

Finch tallied 268 runs at 22.3 from 12 knocks for Royal Challengers Bangalore, who dropped the opener then redeployed him at first drop during their knockout final.

Smith scored 311 runs at 25.9 from 14 innings while captaining Rajasthan Royals during the Twenty20 tournament.

Australia's assistant coach Andrew McDonald knows both batsmen well, having recently coached the Royals and been a long-term mentor of Finch.

McDonald, who is in charge of Australia's quarantining IPL players, says both stars have done the hard work in recent weeks as they seek to fire in Friday's ODI series opener against India.

"Aaron didn't have the IPL he would have liked," McDonald told reporters.

"He definitely struggled a little bit during the IPL and I think he's got his game back under control.

"He probably wasn't hitting the ball as well as what he would have liked and there's some certain things he always works on and comes back to when he goes through those patches ... little technical and mindset things."

India's star-studded attack dismantled Finch's confidence during their previous visit but the hard-hitting Victorian snapped that form slump and captained his country at the 2019 World Cup.

McDonald suggested Smith, who scored 98 and 131 during an ODI tour of India at the start of this year, was a victim of his own high standards.

"Any time he has a slight drop off then it comes under discussion and some criticism at times. I can't put my finger on specifically why it was that he didn't have the IPL he wanted or we at Rajasthan wanted," McDonald said.

"Physically and mentally he's in a good space ... he's ready to go for the summer, been hitting a lot of balls.

"All I can say is his preparation has been outstanding ... I'm not guaranteeing he's going to perform during the ODI series but he's giving himself the best chance to do that."

Express pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are expected to follow the lead of Jofra Archer and Neil Wagner in peppering Smith with bouncers this summer.

McDonald, who is widely tipped to be Justin Langer's successor, rejected the notion short-pitched bowling is Smith's weakness.

"He's working on it as he normally would. There doesn't seem to be any deficiencies there," he said.

"It's going to be a tactic a lot of bowling units will use against our top-line batters, especially with four men out in one-day cricket.

"They've used that tactic before and he's done well on it before. I'm suggesting that plan hasn't necessarily worked to its full effect."