Meaker and Woakes ready to follow Finn
Steven Finn is set to continue his new-ball partnership with James Anderson tomorrow, but they will be followed by bowlers who have so far not played in this NatWest Series.
With England clinching the rubber of Tuesday at the Kia Oval with a game to spare, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann have been rested for the third and final match versus West Indies tomorrow at Headingley Carnegie.
Into the squad in their stead are Stuart Meaker, James Tredwell and Chris Woakes, the latter who was called up prior to the Oval one-day international as cover for Jade Dernbach after the tragic death of Dernbach’s Surrey team-mate Tom Maynard.
Dernbach did not play on Tuesday as England kept the side that won the Ageas Bowl opener, but could feature tomorrow possibly alongside county colleague Meaker and Warwickshire’s Woakes.
Finn, at 23 already an established member of England’s ODI attack with 30 wickets at 24.9 in 17 appearances, sung the praises of Meaker and Woakes - beginning with the former.
“I played a lot of cricket with both Stuart and Chris when I was younger,” he said. “We’re all the same age so we’ve grown up together playing the age-group stuff.”
“He brings that pace; he’s short and skiddy; he’s a different kind of pace to what I am. He brings something different and that’s exciting.
“I think he’s developed his skills greatly over the last couple of years and he’s had some really eye-catching performances for Surrey this year so it’s exciting to have him in the squad and, if he plays tomorrow, I’m sure he’ll really be trying to put pressure on the guys in the team already.”
Finn sees similarities between the bowling of Anderson and Woakes, also noting that the latter is an accomplished batsman.
“Chris has got the skills to be able to have control of what he does like Jimmy does with the inswing, outswing, the ball that goes straight on. I think Woakesy’s got the potential to be an excellent bowler like Jimmy in the future,” he added.
“He’s a high-quality all-rounder, he averages 30-odd in first-class cricket I think. So he’s got great potential to be a very important cricketer for England.”
Finn himself has benefitted from rotation when he and Graham Onions replaced Anderson and Broad for the last match of the Investec Test Series at Edgbaston.
All concerned, whether it be in Tests or ODIs, have previous senior England experience and therefore fitted seamlessly into the respective senior squads.
“I think all the guys who’ve come into the team - so me and Graham came into the Test match - Stuart, Chris and Tredders who have come into this game - have been around the squad for a long time,” he said.
“They might not have been in the squads this summer so far, but they’ve been on winter tours.
“They realise what the atmosphere is like, they know what it’s like, and it’s a very easy atmosphere for people to slot back into.
“To have those guys around is great. It brings fresh blood into the group for those who have been around a little while as well and it’s a great opportunity for those guys to come in and assert themselves on international cricket.”
The atmosphere in the squad this week has been understandably muted following the death on Monday of England Lion Maynard, aged 23.
“It’s deeply sad,” Finn reflected. “I played cricket with Tom when I was younger and played against him last summer.
“It was devastating news for anyone involved in cricket, let alone his friends who most people in the dressing room were.
“It came as a massive shock and, when we played that game the other day, it was something that couldn’t be ignored.”
He added: “We have to play this game of cricket tomorrow in the same vein that we’ve played all our cricket over the last few years.
“Obviously the sad news did affect us and it has affected the squad. It’s made it a bit of a somber atmosphere but we’re still very focused on winning this game of cricket tomorrow.”