Finn embraces Ashes 'banter'
Steven Finn expects plenty more Ashes “banter” from Australian crowds, and is confident he will be able to deal with it too.
Finn, who got off to a slow start in England’s six-wicket victory in Perth last week but improved in the course of his debut Down Under, has also had his first taste of interaction with Australian supporters.
As England completed their preparations for their second warm-up match, against South Australia in Adelaide, Finn is already well aware he can expect more of the same as the Ashes loom ever larger.
The 6ft 8in seamer spoke today of the warm welcome England, who are set to name an unchanged team against SA, have received so far.
But, at the suggestion there may be some more pointed remarks in the offing soon, he said: “I’m sure there will, and we’re prepared for that.”
It will not be a problem for him either.
“We copped a bit of abuse at the WACA last week in that last innings,” he added. “It’s something we’re prepared for, we’ll embrace and we’re going to try to enjoy.
“Friendly banter is good - to make sure we’re accessible as people, we’re human beings as well, and everyone’s got a sense of humour.
“You can see the funny side when people are chirping you. It’s part of what we have to expect as international cricketers, and to be able to deal with that is important.”
Finn was less amused by his first spell against Western Australia, when he appeared to struggle to keep his balance at the crease and over-pitched at times.
He quickly overcame the problem, and was satisfied with his performance by the end of the three-day fixture.
“I slid around in the footholds in the first innings a little bit - but I don’t want to make excuses.
“I’m not the sort of person who is going to sit there and say it was because of the footholds I was bowling full.
“It might have contributed. But I didn’t bowl well in my first spell and went for three or four an over - which is something I don’t want to do in Australia.
“I adapted and managed to bowl better lengths. It’s important that process happens quicker in future.”
Finn is prepared to cut himself some slack, but not too much.
“I was happy with how I bowled towards the end of the first innings,” he said. “It was that first spell that I wasn’t happy with at all.
“I’m 21 years old, and understand that I’m going to be inconsistent every now and again. But it’s important that I don’t settle for that and I try to make myself better each time I go out and bowl - and learn every time too.”
Finn potentially has two more opportunities for competitive action before the first Test in Brisbane, which starts on November 25.
With Australia A awaiting the tourists next week in Hobart, he could have a variety of experience of Antipodean pitches under his belt by the Ashes opener.
Finn said: “Playing three games is good for us - three games against competitive teams is massively important for us. To get those overs into your legs is important.
“I bowled 35 overs in the last game. That helps massively, and to play competitive cricket is great.”
England have worked hard in the nets before each of their first two warm-up fixtures. But Finn believes there is no adequate replacement for the real thing.
“That is the best way to do it, because there is nothing that replicates competitive matches.
“It’s totally different to making nets competitive. You can make nets competitive to a certain extent. But to put yourself into a game situation and have something riding on it makes it a lot more realistic.”
Finn’s own preferred method is to bowl as full as he can, to bring batsmen forward, then try to discomfort them by still hitting the pitch hard and making the most of his height.
It is a recipe England appear pretty keen on too this winter.
Even so, he does not believe he can take his selection in Brisbane for granted - nor does he want to.
“I know my place isn’t nailed down, and I hope it never is going to be - that there’s always going to be that pressure that spurs people on to perform.
“Every time you bowl, you’re conscious there are other people pushing you hard in the team.
“The competition for places is what makes us a good team. We’ve got some high-quality bowlers who are always snapping at your heels to get into the team.”
Australia’s fall, meanwhile, from their habitual perch at the top of the world rankings has been well chronicled.
Finn and his team-mates are not going to be suckered in by such statistics.
“There has been a fairly big deal made about Australia’s demise. But that’s something we’re not bothered about at all,” he said.
“We know this is going to be tough cricket, that Australia are a very good team with very good players. We have to be on top of our game to be able to win these games.”