Experience informs Finn
Steven Finn knows what to expect of bowling on the sub-continent and of competition for places when England face India A in Mumbai from tomorrow.
The 23-year-old paceman, who recently played in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, made his senior international debut in Bangladesh during 2010 and starred on the limited-overs tour of India a year ago.
Finn took 11 wickets in six games versus India last October with a combination of express pace and control, but that will not guarantee him a spot for the first Test from November 15 at Ahmedabad.
Even his eight wickets in England’s last Test, his 16th, against South Africa at Lord’s during August, is unlikely to be decisive when it comes to selection for the first Test of four.
Finn will hope to stake his claim against India A at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium in the first of three warm-up matches.
“It’s always competitive,” he told ecb.co.uk. “And obviously as a team, the management and the captain will pick the team that they believe will win them the game.
“And it’s important that during the warm-up games, whoever it is gets an opportunity, that you try and take it with both hands and make it hard for people to leave you out of the team.
“As cricketers you have to use your preparation time wisely, not to overdo it. But I think that come the warm-up games there’ll be great competition for places and it’s going to be an exciting tour.”
England arrived in India today, having spent the previous three days at the International Cricket Council Global Cricket Academy in Dubai. There Finn experienced surfaces similar to those he will bowl on during this tour.
“You have to adapt to the conditions and the situation,” he said. “I’ve developed skills over the number of years I’ve been lucky enough to play cricket in the sub-continent. I feel as though I’ve developed those skills to a stage where they can stand me in good stead come this Test series.”
Finn believes he will have to be “more disciplined, have set plans and be able to reverse-swing the ball and use the crease a little bit” to be successful in India where they have not won a Test series since 1984-85.
He added: “Just little things that make quite a big difference when it comes to bowling on flat wickets. As a unit we’ve built up a bank of skills over the last 12 months or so to be able to deal with these sorts of conditions and hopefully they’ll bear fruition on this tour.”
The tourists’ time in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend took them nearby to the scene of the first and last Tests of their 3-0 whitewash to Pakistan at the start of the year.
While that trip highlighted the difficulty of facing top-class spin on Asian pitches, the following one to Sri Lanka showed improvement against slow bowling as England drew 1-1.
“It was disappointing for us, but it was probably necessary to learn from our mistakes over there,” said Finn, whose only Test last winter was in victory over Sri Lanka at Colombo.
“Obviously we hate losing Test series. We hate losing games of cricket. But the lessons we learned over there stand us in good stead when it comes to playing in the sub-continent again.
“We obviously made a slight improvement on the tour to Sri Lanka a couple of months later. And then moving forward into this tour here it’s important that we learn from our mistakes back then and put them into practice in this coming Test series.”