Finn wants ultimate Test again
Steven Finn has one more shot at the recognition he deserves as arguably England’s outstanding performer in their one-day international series victory over Pakistan.
Yet even if he does inch the verdict in Tuesday’s dead rubber, ahead of the stiff competition from Alastair Cook - who struck hundreds in 130- and 20-run victories in the first two games - and yesterday's centurion Kevin Pietersen, Finn has his eyes on a much bigger prize.
It is a measure of England’s pace-bowling riches that he has played just once in 12 Tests - against Sri Lanka in the summer - since being substituted out of the reckoning midway through England’s Ashes victory in Australia last winter.
Finn, though, senses his time might just have come to add significantly to his 12 Test caps.
“Playing Test cricket is something that I want to do,” he said. “It’s something I want to do for the rest of my career.
“There are different skills and pressures in one-day cricket. But Test cricket is where I want to be.”
England will name their squad to travel to Sri Lanka immediately at the conclusion of the three Twenty20s against Pakistan, which follow this ODI series.
Even if he is selected for the trip, though, Finn is all too aware of how difficult it will be to force his way into the XI given England’s bowling depth.
“By no means do I think I deserve to walk straight into that Test team,” he said. “But I feel as if I’m ready to play Test cricket.
“It’s not in my hands whether I do or not. All I can do is keep trying to perform in every game I’m picked to play.”
That remains the plan for the remainder of this week, starting on Tuesday and then in the T20s.
He added: “I hope I’ll play on Tuesday and I can put in another performance there.
“Every time I bowl well for England it does me no harm, and I’ve targeted that Test place. By no means am I expecting to be in that Test team. It’s just something I’m working towards.”
Among Finn’s improvements since he was last a Test regular are increased pace from his 6ft 7in height and much greater consistency of length.
Add in his control of reverse-swing when available, and he is close to the full package - even if some still contend he could do with more of the traditional fast bowler’s aggression.
“I think it helps to be aggressive when you’re taking wickets,” he said. “I’ve always tried to be aggressive, but it helps that I’m bowling a little quicker these days.
“I like to let my bowling do the talking. You can have all the bravado that you want, but if you bowl a heap of rubbish it’s not going to help.
“You have to back your words with actions, and thankfully I’ve been doing that this series.”
As for England’s resurgence, after their Test whitewash and 5-0 ODI defeat in India last October, Finn is naturally enthused - but wants to see plenty more of the same.
“We lost 5-0 in India and lost the Test series 3-0, so to come back and be 3-0 up in a four-match series is a very good effort - mentally and physically,” he said.
“I think we’ve proved to ourselves that we can play in the sub-continent, and we’ve developed plans that work in the sub-continent.
“After losing the Tests 3-0, it’s important we try to ram home and win the series 4-0. It is a great thing to be involved with, to win out here in their own conditions. It’s what we came to achieve.”