Why Sheffield Shield trumps IPL for players
AUSTRALIAN cricketers on overseas tours crowd around laptops eight at a time to take in every ball of the Sheffield Shield live stream.
That's how significant the domestic competition is to everyone who plays in it, so the chance to make a fourth straight final means a heck of a lot to every Victorian player and captain Aaron Finch.
Plenty have six- and seven-figure Indian Premier League contracts to look forward to in April when they'll be treated like kings.
But beating Tasmania in Hobart to secure a spot against Queensland in the Shield final is one of those money can't buy experiences that every Australian cricketer craves.
"Guys who are playing Test cricket, they all sit around and watch the live stream. If Victoria is playing NSW, and you are on tour, there would be eight guys huddled around a computer watching it," Finch said before boarding a plane for Hobart.
"People forget that even the guys at the top, they are all Shield cricketers, we are all club cricketers too. As a young player, the Shield was where you learned your craft.
"The guys at the top of the tree now, they never lost sight of the graft they had to do in Shield cricket to get where they are. Everyone appreciates how hard it is. Everyone loves it."
Finch said everyone in the Victorian set-up was well aware of what's at stake too.
The Bushrangers have never, in their long, storied history, won the title four times in a row.
Two wins from the past two games have given the Vics momentum and only one forced change to the team will be made, with young batting star Will Pucovski sidelined by concussion.
Despite that, and needing to win just to get to the final, the skipper said his team could not be better placed.
"You can't shy away from the fact we are aiming for four in a row. The really pleasing part is that we are playing our best cricket now," Finch said.
"If you look back, when we have been under the pump in previous years, to win a game to make a final … we win.
"You want to be playing when everything is on the line. When the pressure is on, you want to stand up and perform."