Finn relieved boot is not on other foot
Steven Finn has revealed how he has swapped an “army boot camp” for an important role in England’s first Test against Bangladesh.
Finn was called into the squad as cover when England’s bowlers suffered a number of injuries, and was a surprise inclusion in Chittagong as the tourists opted against a second spinner on a lifeless track.
The 20-year-old took one wicket in the first innings and has 1-31 from 11 overs in the second, as a gutsy 81-run stand between Junaid Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim saw Bangladesh to 191 for five and denied England a four-day victory.
The conditions in Chittagong are hardly those to make a young paceman’s eyes light up, but for Finn it is much preferable to the alternative.
“By no means 10 days ago when I was lying in bed in my flat did I think I would be playing Test match cricket now,” admitted the 6ft 8in bowler.
“In fact, as we speak I would probably be getting woken up by an army officer in Exeter.
“At Middlesex we had an army boot camp planned. Angus (Fraser, director of cricket) said ‘Last year the team went to Dubai and didn’t do very well so you’re going to boot camp this year’.
“I’d be in the middle of a forest in a tent by now probably.”
Finn added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me. Since I was just a little kid this is something that I’ve aimed towards.
“Fundamentally every young lad who plays cricket wants to play Test matches. By no means had I built up a picture in my mind that it was going to be easy and bowling on the flat track out there proved that.”
Finn’s rapid emergence, coupled with an imposing frame that has earned him the nickname of ‘Avatar’ from Graeme Swann, has led to plenty of buzz about his potential.
But while some have tipped him next winter’s Ashes and beyond, Finn is more circumspect in his ambitions.
“I’m not thinking too far ahead,” he said. “A week ago I was just looking hoping to go back to Middlesex, get picked in the first championship team and hopefully take some wickets.
“I’m trying just to take every game of cricket as it comes, whether it’s for Middlesex seconds or England.
“By no means am I targeting an Ashes tour. I’d love to be there but there’s a lot of hard work between now and then.
“I’ve been performing well now for a month but I have to prove I can do that over seven months of a county season.”
Bangladesh, chasing 513, require another 322 runs to force an improbable victory - but will more likely be scrapping for a draw.
And Siddique, who was unbeaten on 68 from 199 balls at stumps, is hoping to stay the course again tomorrow.
“This was the first time I have faced so many balls in a Test match,” he said. “I was committed within myself and I tried to battle using my strengths.
“Things can change overnight but I believe if we can survive a little while it could be a problem for them.
“We will try to occupy the crease and if we can get a good partnership going the positives will come.”
The new Brit Insurance 2010-11 official England Cricket Team kit will be available to pre order from April 1 via ecb.co.uk, and in store from April 29