By Rob Barnett
Steven Finn can return to form like Mitchell Johnson to be a similarly devastating bowler, Ashley Giles believes.
Finn has been withdrawn from England’s limited-overs squads in Australia and will return to the UK to continue working on technical aspects of his game.
Fellow paceman Johnson, who was the leading wicket-taker in this winter’s Ashes series with 37 scalps, has made a stunning comeback after not being selected in Australia’s squad for last summer’s Ashes.
England ODI and T20 Head Coach Giles congratulated Johnson, whose bowling has gone from erratic to consistently lethal, and explained Finn can do likewise.
Speaking of the Middlesex seamer, Giles said: “He’s worked incredibly hard. You can’t fault how he’s worked and sometimes you need to work smarter and that maybe involved taking him out of competitive cricket or a competitive environment.
“But Mitch has done fantastically well. All credit to him. Steven Finn has similar capability - he’s shown that in the past - and, of course, with a T20 World Cup and a World Cup here next year, we need him back fully fit and firing.”
Whether Finn can recover in time for March’s World Twenty20, for which England today named a provisional 30-man squad containing him, remains to be seen.
Yet centrally-contracted Finn, who faced Australia in all international formats in the second half of last summer and was a non-playing member of the winter Ashes party, remains vital to his country.
“It’s not that long ago that he was bowling I think close to his best,” Giles added. “So this time last year or even later than this we were in New Zealand and he was the spearhead of our one-day attack.
“He is really a key asset to us going forward. I look at it rather selfishly from a one-day and T20 perspective, but certainly as a Test bowler as well you’d almost call him in such a big business a million-pound asset.
“When you’ve got assets like that you’ve got to look after them and do what’s best for them, and at the moment that’s going home and sort himself out.”