Aaron Finch has rejected former skipper Michael Clarke's contentious claim that Australian players refrained from sledging Virat Kohli during the 2018-19 home Test series in order to protect their IPL contracts.
Clarke made the controversial comment in April when he judged Australia's perceived lack of aggression in the fateful series as reflective of their desire to land lucrative IPL contracts.
Responding to the statements, Australia's white-ball captain Finch said there was no dearth of intent from his side as they battled hard across the four Tests.
“They were obviously not being nice to impress because they wanted an IPL contract. There is nothing about it,” Finch told Sports Tak.
“If you ask anyone playing on the field, they will tell you that it was very, very tough. It was played in the right spirit, but it was very tough. Not sure where it was coming from.”
The big-hitting opening batsman was part of the Test team during the series, though his abysmal tally of 97 runs from six innings eventually resulted in his axing from the red-ball setup.
The contests against India were Australia's second Test series without the star duo of Steve Smith and David Warner, both of whom copped one-year bans for their involvement in the ball-tampering fiasco.
Australia's frail batting line-up was thus frequently routed in the face of quality seam bowling from the opponents as India secured a historic Test series triumph Down Under.
“The team was going through a transition, and there were a lot of players trying to find their way in international cricket and doing that against India," admitted Finch.
“Talking as a batsman, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, you can’t hide against that kind of attack.”
Finch added that his former teammate was entitled to his opinions but maintained that guarding IPL deals never crossed the minds of players.
“Michael said we were being nice, but people were just trying to find their own game, they were trying their best way to play Test cricket. But everyone is entitled to their views; he might have seen something from the outside which we didn’t see from inside."
Australia will have a chance to avenge their loss against India and regain the Border–Gavaskar Trophy if the Test series between the two sides scheduled at the end of this year goes ahead as planned.