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Finals ambition remains

11 January 2018

Melbourne Renegades Coach Andrew McDonald says the side has the firepower to play in the finals despite the loss of Aaron Finch and Cameron White.

The pair has been called up to the Australian one-day squad.

White had been set to replace Finch as Renegades captain, but that honour will fall to Brad Hodge.

“We’ve got some good depth, we’ll have to structure up a bit differently but that’s the art of picking an 18-man squad,” McDonald said.

“You’re always going to be tested at this time, you’re always going to be at the mercy of National selections and that’s the art of picking that squad.

“The Stars are also missing a couple of players in Zampa and Stoinis, so it’s probably a level playing field.

“It is a big game, they’re all big games in a ten-game tournament.”

White returns to the national set-up after a blistering start to the Big Bash.

He’s been dismissed just twice from his six matches and has posted scores of 79 not out, 51, 3, 49 not out, 35 not out and 68 not out against the Scorchers on Monday night.

He leads the competition with 285 runs at an average of 142.5 and strike-rate of 116.  He’s also smashed 23 fours and cleared the fence eight times this season.

“It’s fantastic news for Cameron White first and foremost,” McDonald said.

“We were in a meeting about half an hour ago planning and preparing for this game and Cameron was taking over from Finchy as captain.

“So, we lose our captain … but well done to Cameron, it’s a few years of toil … it’s great reward for the body of work that he’s put together in the past few years.

“I must admit I am a bit shocked at the selection, but it’s great news for Cameron and I just hope that bodes well for him going forward to the 2019 World Cup which is Australia’s next big quest.

“If he plays through to then, then I think it’s a great selection.”

The Renegades head a group of three sides locked on eight points, with the Heat and Hurricanes behind only on net run rate.

A home game against the Stars on Friday night begins a four-game stretch that also sees the side host the Strikers before travelling to take on the Thunder and Heat in the lead up to the finals.

“We’ve put in a really good first six games which has set it up for the backend,” McDonald said.

“How many games gets you in we don’t know – usually it’s about half … all that will take care of itself if we just keep playing consistent cricket.

“We’ve gone down to the best team (Perth) with an amazing list in the last four years … we’ve lost to them twice in the last eight games, other than that we haven’t lost.

“If they’re the benchmark and we’re pushing them then that bodes well if we keep preparing and consistently doing our roles within the team.

“I’m confident the new guys can come in and we can pick a role that suits them and we can get the best out of them.”