Aaron Finch began the summer with Shane Warne calling for him to captain Australia in all three forms of cricket. How times have changed.
Another top order failure prevented Australia from reaching the 300-plus total needed to fend off India as Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni led another expertly-timed chase to square the one-day series at 1-1 at Adelaide on Tuesday night.
Shaun Marsh (131) scored another ton in a losing cause as the experiments with veteran bowlers Peter Siddle (0/58 from eight overs) and Nathan Lyon (0/59 from 10) begin to cause concern.
But it was out-of-form skipper Finch who dominated the talking points after India's six-wicket win.
The Australian skipper Finch was bowled for six — the fifth time in eight one-day innings he's been bowled — and averages 13.8 from his past five matches.
"I thought we hung in there well but when the old pro Dhoni is there is it is tough," Finch said. "The powerplays we have to get right and I am responsible for that — not getting enough runs. I've not been coming off, but captaincy is separate from personal performance."
Finch just needs a slice of luck to end his extended form slump, Australian coach Justin Langer says.
Finch's run of outs followed being dropped from Australia's test team after scoring 97 runs at an average of 16.16 in the first three tests of the recent series against India.
And he also battled in the ODI series last November against South Africa when making only 57 runs in three games.
Langer says Finch is not just down on form, but also down on luck. "He's not far off. He's working so hard on it," Langer said. "He just needs a few breaks. Every now and then you need a little break, and he'll be away again.
"This is brand new territory for him, he's playing all three forms of the game. He is also captain of the white-ball teams, playing test cricket ... he won't be far off — when he gets going, he scores hundreds."
Michael Hussey implored selectors to stand by the Victorian. "No way, there's no pressure on his place in the team," Hussey said. "He's been our best performed one day player for a number of years now. Every player goes through a period where things don't fall into place. Keep backing him."
Glenn Maxwell, batting at seven, blasted 48 from 37 balls, and combined with Shaun Marsh's brilliant 131 from 123 deliveries, helped Australia post 298-9. But India, guided by Virat Kohli's 104 — his 39th ODI century — and the masterly finishing touches of Dhoni (55 from 54 balls) claimed victory to level the series at one-all ahead of the deciding fixture in Melbourne tomorrow night.