Finn out to make fresh England case
Steven Finn accepts why he was dropped during England’s victorious Ashes campaign and is ready to prove a point to the selectors.
Finn was the series’ leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps in three Tests but an expensive display in Australia’s rubber-levelling win at Perth cost him his place for the last two matches.
The 21-year-old bears no grudges over his omission and is ready to force his way back into the Test side for England’s first game of the summer against Sri Lanka in Cardiff, starting on May 26.
Finn has an apparent advantage over his competitors in being available to his county, Middlesex, over the next month whereas England’s other leading seamers are resting or recovering from injury after a gruelling World Cup campaign.
“I suppose I have got something to prove to the selectors to say that I am good enough to play Test match cricket,” he said.
“The only way I’m going to do that is by performing for Middlesex, taking things in small bursts, not looking too far ahead and looking towards that first Test match.
“That first Test match is still two months away so I have to put in the performances for Middlesex early-season, take wickets, be consistent and maybe that will get me picked for the Test match.”
Recalling his last first-class match statistics - 5-183 from 36 overs at the WACA - Finn acknowledges it was more than the impact of three back-to-back Tests saw him left on the sidelines.
“I don’t think it was rest,” he admitted. “I just wasn’t bowling as well as I should have been.
“I went for quite a few runs in that Perth Test match. I know what I did wrong and I wasn’t helping the team out with what I was doing, so that’s why I got left out.”
For the second consecutive year Finn was centre of attention at Middlesex’s pre-season media day at Lord’s.
Twelve months ago he had burst on to the scene during the Test series victory in Bangladesh. Now, despite the setback of missing out on the Melbourne and Sydney wins, the youngster sees his first senior international year in perspective.
“I was bitterly disappointed to be left out after three Tests. I understand why I was - it’s not an issue,” he added.
“Twelve months ago I was sitting here having played two Test matches, not guaranteed of playing any more that summer.
“To be sat here now having played three Ashes Test matches and took 14 wickets in three Test matches, I’m over the moon to have played a part in winning the Ashes.”
Having been involved in series victories over Bangladesh and Pakistan last summer ahead of the Ashes triumph, Finn is certain his game has come on in that time.
However, the 6ft 7in seamer knows he has greater potential yet and is determined to put in the hard yards such as pre-season training with Middlesex.
“I’ve definitely developed over the past 12 months. To perform relatively consistently in international cricket I’ve had to develop my game,” he said.
“Again, my game’s nowhere near as developed as I want it to be and these last four weeks at home, where I’ve been training, have all been focused to me towards becoming a better bowler and developing new skills.
“You’ve always got to look for one up, you’ve always got to improve yourself as a cricketer and I feel like I’ve done that over the last four weeks.”
With that preparation complete, Finn is ready to move on from the winter’s historic achievement - he was not born the previous time England won the Ashes in Australia - and focus on the season ahead, which begins competitively against Essex in the LV= County Championship on April 14.
“You can’t just be thinking that we won the Ashes three months ago; you have to look to the future and look what’s coming up,” he added.
“I’ve learnt my lessons from it. I’ve got those memories and they’ll stay with me forever but the important thing now is the early season matches for Middlesex, performing for Middlesex and then trying to get into that Test match team for Sri Lanka.”