Finn focused on accuracy
Steven Finn has found an extra gear to rank among the world’s fastest bowlers, but he will not be sidetracked by the need for speed against India tomorrow.
As England prepare for the must-win third one-day international in Mohali, Finn represents one of their most obvious chances of battling their way back into the five-match series before it is too late.
A sneaky glance at the pitch, on his way to the nets this afternoon, brought an involuntary smile to his face too - patches of green promising the possibility of pace, bounce and even seam movement in this often arid country.
While Finn could not suppress a grin at mention of tomorrow’s surface, others - even his mum, it turns out - have been clocking the speed gun and noticing he has suddenly become a 90mph-plus bowler.
The man himself, however, knows other attributes are more important.
He revealed: “A couple of people have come up to me and said, ‘Cor, you’re bowling at 94mph’. My mum rang me and said ‘You were bowling at 94mph yesterday’.
“It was great. But it’s nothing I think about. It’s nice being referenced in that bracket, but more important is where the ball goes. At what pace it does it is really irrelevant.
“It’s whether it goes in the right area and does the right things. If you do it at 94mph, brilliant. Speed is not something that’s occupying my mind. More important is what I do with the ball.”
Finn’s new-found extra pace might easily have helped him and England make more of a game of Monday’s second ODI - when he troubled both Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli early in their double-century stand, only to end up wicketless in a match which careered away from the tourists.
The 6ft 7in bowler, still only 22 years old, believes he may yet be able to push the speed gun further.
“It’s been pretty consistent for the last four or five games. Every time I’ve bowled, people are saying ‘Is the speed gun broken?’
“I’d hope the speed gun doesn’t lie. But I’m not doing anything different. I’m maturing as a bowler, so I think I might have a little bit more in the tank - you never know.”
Either way, Finn may just have conditions in his favour in Mohali.
“It looks quite encouraging from a seamer’s point of view, the amount of grass on the wicket, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a bowler-friendly wicket,” he admitted.
As for his unlucky new-ball spell in Delhi, he added: “There’s not a lot more I could have done. On another day, I might have had three or four wickets.
“We look to attack with the new ball. That’s the way we go about it, and I think we’ve done that quite well in the two games so far.
“We’ve created a few opportunities and could have been in far better positions in the first 10 overs than we have been.”
The key for England, Finn believes, is not to let Indian conditions - low, slow pitches and hot, hot days - stop them concentrating on universal basics.
Asked about the difficulty of adapting in unfamiliar climes, he said: “The challenge is to not think like that. We’re aware the conditions are different here; the ball won’t carry or move about as much as it does in England. We also tend to face more spin here - which as English players, we’re not particularly used to.
“But the challenge is to take it out of our minds, to leave that in the dressing-room - and when we go out on the pitch the basic principles of cricket remain true whatever the conditions.
“A fast bowler has to land the ball between six to eight metres, on the seam, and let the pitch do the rest. Those principles run true throughout cricket and the whole world.”