Sledging won't bother me - Finn
England seamer Steven Finn insists he will be able to deal with the inevitable sledging which will come his way if he makes his Ashes debut in November.
Finn has established himself as a key part of the England attack despite having played only eight Tests since being called up to the squad to tour Bangladesh at the start of the year.
Sledging is always a prominent feature in Ashes series and Shane Watson recently revealed that Australia have singled out 21-year-old Finn as a target as they bid to win back the urn they lost at the Brit Insurance Oval last year.
The Australia opener claimed Finn’s inexperience would make him susceptible to the pressure, but the Middlesex player is confident he can cast that aside to concentrate on helping England win their first Ashes series Down Under since 1987.
“I won’t be bothered by it. I’ll just shrug it off,” Finn said. “I don’t know if there will be a lot of sledging; I haven’t played in an Ashes series before.
"But if there is I’ll just concentrate on putting the ball on a good length and keeping my focus on that regardless of whatever they say.”
After making his debut in Chittagong in March, Finn went on to secure a regular place in Andrew Strauss’ side by putting in a string of impressive performances in the home series against Bangladesh, where 15 wickets in two Tests earned him the man of the series award.
He went on to take 19 wickets at an average of just under 23 against Pakistan before being left out of the one-day squad in order to undergo a programme of “strength and conditioning” ahead of this winter’s gruelling schedule.
“The strength and conditioning training will definitely help me. It makes you more robust,” said Finn.
“It makes you more guarded against injury and I think the more injury-prevention stuff bowlers can do, the more the better. I think it will stand me in good stead.”
Big things are expected of Finn, but he is not fazed by what awaits him, and instead sees this winter as an opportunity to realise a childhood dream of playing against England’s most bitter rivals.
“I am confident enough to deal with the pressure if I get picked,” he added.
“I’m confident that, no matter who it is that is put in front of me, I will be able to do the same processes that will end up in the same result - i.e. me being successful.
“I am thoroughly looking forward to the Ashes. It’s the greatest series that an England cricketer can ever take part in. I just can’t wait for it to get started now.
“It means a lot to play against them. I grew up watching Ashes series when I was younger and there were a lot of people who I looked up to throughout my career.”
Finn was not even born when Mike Gatting last led England to an Ashes win in Australia, almost a quarter of a century ago.
However, recent victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh, coupled with last year’s Ashes triumph, make Finn confident that England can upset the odds and beat Ricky Ponting’s side this winter.
“Of course we can win it. There’s no point in us going out there unless we think we can,” he said.
“We’re on a roll at the moment; we’re confident. We have played some good cricket over the last 12-18 months and the guys who were there before I got into the team put together an incredible string of performances, including the Ashes win, so I think everything has been building up to this.
“The Ashes is, at the end of the day, just another series.”