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'I will come back stronger' - Finn

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 16, 2014

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn has insisted that the collapse in his bowling form has been exaggerated and that after leaving England's tour of Australia prematurely he is confident he can quickly make the technical adjustments necessary to return to the international side next summer.

Finn did not play in a single Test during England's 5-0 whitewash but pronounced himself "knackered" by his perpetual attempts to sort out his malfunctioning bowling action in the nets. Giving his only interview to ecb.co.uk - English cricket's in-house website - he said he had felt his action was "close to clicking on numerous occasions and dismissed some media coverage as "uninformed".

"I have worked very hard on this tour," Finn said in an interview also freely available on the ECB's YouTube site. "I have put lots and lots of hours in to try to make my bowling action right. I arrived on the tour very confident I could play a full part in the Ashes series. As the series went on, and as we moved into the one-day leg of the tour, it is clear that there are a couple of technical issues I need to address.

"At times it has felt like I have been banging my head against a brick wall, trying to make it right and trying to be prepared to play and take myself out of this environment, a competitive environment, and work with people what I've worked with before, I'm really looking forward to it.

"We will address what needs addressing, make a plan and stick to that religiously. There have been times on this trip when it has felt so close to clicking. Bowling in the nets before the Prime Minister's XI game I bowled nicely, I bowled with decent pace, I bowled quite consistently, but it's the infrequency with which that has happened which has probably led to me going home.

"It's close to clicking and it's not going to take too much to get me back where I want to be."

Finn echoed the belief of Angus Fraser, director of cricket at Middlesex and a long-time confidant, that he needed to fall in love with the game again.

"I'd love to stay out here and put myself up for selection... It's got to a point on the tour where I suppose the constant setbacks I've had in the nets it's going to be good for me to get away and clear my head for a couple of weeks and, as Angus said, just fall in the love with the game again. I do love the game but at times it's been hard to love it because I've been fighting myself so much.


Hands up who wants to play some one-day cricket? Steven Finn takes part in a stretching exercise, Melbourne, January 11, 2014
Steve Finn says it will not be too long before he is putting his hand up for selection again © Getty Images
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"It's tough for me to leave the tour, I'm upset I'm leaving the tour because I want to be helping England win games of cricket... but I do feel that it's best if I go home now."

Finn accepts that he has minimal chance of being included in England's World Twenty plans in Bangladesh as he will have no matches to prove that his troubles are behind him. His target is England's one-day series against Sri Lanka in mid-May.

"As far as the West Indies tour goes, it;s going to be difficult to put up my hand for selection... the focus for me is getting back for Middlesex and playing some early season cricket and try to put my hand up for those one-dayers in mid-May."

He did not give an interview to the media to give an honest appraisal of the situation he was in, but still attacked some of the coverage as "uninformed".

"I am nowhere near as far away as some people have been suggesting in the press," he said. "It is quite an uninformed view from people who haven't seen me bowl much. I have been doing a lot of bowling away from people's eyes. I feel it is not far away from clicking but I have had two-and-a-half months feeling like that.

"In terms of the technical things, they are not massive things. I've aligned my run-ups - my run-ups are nice straight line to the crease now - I did a lot of work on that last summer - and it's just about getting the timing of my arms and legs working at the same time. Sometimes a little thing can throw you out on either of those things but once my arms and my legs start working together again I feel I can come out of this a better bowler.

"I am not sure I will take a Test wicket or an ODI or T20 wicket for granted ever again.

"When you are busting a gut every time you step into the nets, sometimes it can be a case of trying too hard. I am knackered come the end of this tour now because I have spent so many hours in the nets trying to put things right.

"It's not massive things. I've not forgotten how to bowl."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Roshan_P on (January 19, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

He's probably the most talented young bowler for England. The fastest to 50 wickets for England - that's got to mean something. But it's something about the management in the England team that is really quite toxic - look at Trott, and the entire team for that matter. He needs to take some time out, find some peace away from the ECB, maybe focus back on county cricket. All he needs to do now is rest, declutter his mind and get back to bowling. I think county cricket should really do him good. In the mean time Onions should be a fantastic choice for third seamer - assuming the selection committee are intelligent enough to select him, which could be doubtful He will defintely come back faster, stronger and better.

Posted by Haz95 on (January 19, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

Mitchell, Junaid, Dale and Steven would walk into any ODI XI as fast bowlers. It's pathetic how he's struggling to walk into a struggling XI when he's in the top 5 best odi Pacers in the world currently. Absolutely pathetic. He is a meant to be a guaranteed spot for England....

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 18:05 GMT)

This is an interesting situation because it seems anything could happen - it feels like Finn could come back better than ever and be the next Morne Morkel, leading the English pace attack for many years. Or he could end up as some medium-paced county dobber along the lines of Jon Lewis. Or give up cricket because he's tired of conflicting advise and banging his head against brick walls. Which makes it a sad situation because the 2nd or 3rd options would not do a talented cricketer justice.

Posted by Waddle on (January 17, 2014, 22:59 GMT)

'He did not give an interview to the media to give an honest appraisal of the situation he was in' .. .. .. Why do the media always have a little spoilt paddy when information emerges via a different route ? .. .. It all sounds pretty honest to me .. .. This was petty and trite journalism.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 17, 2014, 15:50 GMT)

Another good bowler ruined by the ECB "think tank."

Posted by Matt.au on (January 17, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

@Zenek Szulc Fair enough, I'm Australian so haven't seen him bowl as much as those from his home country.

If you are correct, I don't know why anyone tinkered with him in the first place (he included if it was self indulged) as anytime I'd seen him bowl, prior to his last few tests and ODI's, I thought he was top class.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (January 17, 2014, 12:25 GMT)

If onions had played he would be been sliced through the covers - he was not the answer in the last series

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (January 17, 2014, 11:49 GMT)

Forget about coming back STRONGER - focus on coming back BETTER

You will not do the English team much good by turning yourself into a strong bowler who still serves up pies to hungry batsmen

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 11:36 GMT)

@Matt.au the problem is the 'hitting the stumps' problem was as a result of tinkering in the first place. When he 1st came onto the scene i don't recall it ever happening. He did have another problem though; he'd bowl himself literally off his feet. To counter that, and to try and get him coming closer to th stumps, he changed his action slightly and thats when the clipping the stumps problem occured.

What i don't get - and I'm hoping somebody with coachign experience can explain - s why the solution wasn't just "hit the crease half a foot wider"?

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

Hope I'm wrong but he was never very consistent anyway. Unless the Middlesex coaching staff can sort him, out, he could be finished. Thank the England staff for that. What disaster of selection overall for the quick bowlers. They picked one, Rankin, who can't bowl more than seven overs without wimping off with cramp. They picked Tremlett who is obviously finished and Finn who is bowling the ball into the side netting in practice. Brilliant. Sack all of the coaching staff, half the team and start again.

Posted by Sanj747 on (January 17, 2014, 3:14 GMT)

The basic ingredients are there for a great recipe with Finn and his bowling. With his height, action and overallmakeup he has the potential to be a McGrath. Might be too may chefs in the kitchen ranging from Saker, Fraser and Flower giving him advice.

Posted by landl47 on (January 17, 2014, 3:04 GMT)

Lots of players have been through this. Heck, Mitchell Johnson, the terror of 2013/14, has been going through it almost his whole career. It suddenly all came right for Mitch at the age of 32. Finn has lots of time to reconstruct his career.

The trick, in cricket as in golf, is to learn to focus on what you want to do rather than how you do it. Any cricketer or golfer who is worried about his technique while he is playing is not going to succeed. Finn has the physical ability. He just needs to find the mindset that works best for him.

Posted by rienzied on (January 17, 2014, 2:22 GMT)

any bowler that continuosly knocks down the stumps, needs to be no balled and be warned after the 2nd incident in the same innings.. Simple, and in the same context of the 'no ball' , I would like to see the free hit introduced in test cricket, and the free hit should include a no ball in ANY form of it and not only be exclusive for overstepping, so it has to be included for bowling off the wicket, incorrect field settings, bowlers hitting the stumps, beamers... yup the whole lot!

Posted by tph86 on (January 17, 2014, 1:39 GMT)

Whilst county cricket seems to mean very little to the England management (see: Onions, G), surely it would be beneficial to tell Finn he won't considered this summer and let him find his rhythm with Middlesex. I'd wager that he'll take a bucket load in CC.

90 wickets in 23 tests. I'll take the odd four ball or knee to the stumps for that. Finn will come again and it will be a test of Cook's captaincy. I'm no big fan of Clarke or the Australian team but he's showed how to use a strike bowler. If nothing happens after a short spell then get him off with no harm done. Basing an entire attack on bowling 'dry' no longer seems to work. Anderson, Broad, Finn, Stokes and a spinner seems a very decent and varied attack to me.

As for who the spinner will be...that's a different conversation entirely!

(Moeen Ali. Because...why not?!)

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 17, 2014, 1:29 GMT)

Get him back home and start him off at the level below County cricket. Give him time to get loads of wickets at that level so he can prove to HIMSELF that he can actually bowl. .. Once he terrorised lesser batsmen for a while bring him back to CC and if he does well there he could be ready for the big time again. .. Coaching can get you so far, taking wickets in games should get you the rest of the way.

Posted by cloudmess on (January 17, 2014, 0:23 GMT)

What a waste of an Ashes place, one which could have gone to someone more deserving like Onions.

Posted by Matt.au on (January 17, 2014, 0:13 GMT)

Posted by Tigg "As with most bowlers who have been 'tinkered with' he should try to go back to how he bowled before. Run in hard, and pitch it on or just outside off stump at around 90 mph. Just maybe a little wider on the crease."

Unlike many others, I guess Finn is one bowler who had to be tinkered with because of his propensity to knock the bails off.

Again, just guessing, only he knows just how much harm was done working with the English set up.

Seriously though, if he has had to leave a tour, virtually not bowling a ball in anger, to go back to "people what I've worked with before" you have to conclude he has been tinkered the wrong way by the wrong people at the wrong time.

The wrong time meaning his run uip should have been sorted before he was selected to tour.

Posted by SevereCritic on (January 16, 2014, 23:02 GMT)

Must be KP's fault. Probably knocked him around in the nets too hard!!! KP MUST GO...

Posted by Moppa on (January 16, 2014, 21:46 GMT)

@bobmartin, I didn't see Graeme Smith's reaction to Finn hitting the stumps so I can't comment, but the ICC response, for a change, was prompt and appropriate. If your foot goes over the popping crease or outside the return crease, it's a no ball. I can't see why you'd treat hitting the stumps in the delivery stride differently.

Posted by Baundele on (January 16, 2014, 21:41 GMT)

If I were Finn, I would not have changed anything in my bowling action. He should not be much concerned about that stump-breaking no balls. Everybody bowls one or two no balls per match anyway. I am a big fan of Finn, he used to give me lot of points in my fantasy cricket teams. That means' he has been a good performer over time. The management should help him, instead of evaporating his confidence.

Posted by CodandChips on (January 16, 2014, 21:07 GMT)

@bobmartin agree with you. Don't forget Finn's problem of kicking the stumps only came after action tinkering. Bring back the Finn who bowled quickly and took wickets and fell over a few times

Posted by   on (January 16, 2014, 21:06 GMT)

Finn said regarding his action: "it's just about getting the timing of my arms and legs working at the same time."

This seems to be a bit of a problem for him. Any kid taking a ball for the first time will be able to coordinate arms and legs in a bowling action. It is a natural action - left foot down, right arm over. If you have to get this sorted out then you have real problems. 'Crash' Craddock reported that he had the "yips". Few golfers suffering this malady ever overcome them. The fact that despite a couple of months in the nets he has been unable to overcome this does not auger well. That is very sad as he looked to be a very promising prospect performing very well against top opposition.

Hopefully, Angus Fraser can sort him out away from the pressures of a difficult tour.

Posted by swissfrank43 on (January 16, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

@Paul Rone-Clark I agree with your comments, except what you say about Rankin. What they saw in him was a bowler who performed really well in the ODIs against Australia last summer. Maybe he should be added to the list of bowlers who have gone downhill since joining the England setup.

Posted by bobmartin on (January 16, 2014, 19:13 GMT)

Despite his problem of occasionally knocking the stumps with his knee... (resulting in a huge over-reaction from Graeme Smith... followed by an equal over-reaction from the ICC) ) Finn was bowling OK... Since then he has gone steadily downhill... My advice to him would be.. go back to what you were doing prior to that... Who cares if you bowl an occasional no-ball...All bowlers do at some time and concede the odd run... This absurd tinkering with his action has done nothing to make him a better bowler than he was... in fact just the opposite... it's made him unselectable. If he was good enough to select prior to all this interference... then he should be good enough if he just went back to basics... Leave him alone and let do what he used to do..

Posted by Narkovian on (January 16, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

Agreed @dark_harlequin. Usual bland stuff from interviews. Don't know why they bother. We will miss Swann on that score.

As far as FINN is concerned. To many people giving advice. Total confusion. Plenty of past cases of that. Anderson of course. Well remember poor Devon Malcolm who was left a gibbering wreck by Illingworth and bowling coach Lever. Somehow they seemed to forget he had only a few months before wrecked SA in a Tests series. Seems our army of coaches, advisors, gurus, will never learn. Basically.. if they are good enough to play Tests for England, within reason, just let them get on with it. FINN.. just bowl fast and scare the living daylights out of batsmen..Its not subtle.. but that's all Johnson has done.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2014, 16:09 GMT)

Look at the dip in form bowlers get once they get involved with team England. What happened with Toby Roland-Jones? Bresnan?

Why did they take Tremlett? What did they see in Rankin? Just how far has Panesar fallen? Bounce is generated by PACE as well as height. Being 6'6" is all well and good, but not much bounce and carry if you're dinking it down at 78mph

Watching Tremlett bowl medium pace and Panesar give up the idea of spinning and instead just "low arming" the ball at leg stump, you might need a speed gun to tell which one was quicker.

Yes - England's batting is in a slump, but so is its bowling stocks. Fine players seem to turn to mush as soon as the England coaches get hold of them.

Finn and Swann are real examples of fine bowlers gone bad.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2014, 15:27 GMT)

Most of the young English bowlers seem to have gone backwards in the last couple of years (I don't rate Dernbach, and Meaker has not pushed on, as well as Finn). I'm not sure this interview is totally accurate, given what Aggers said about his bowling (on the BBC). Things seem a bit worse than Finn paints them. Hopefully he'll get himself sorted out soon.

Posted by PrasPunter on (January 16, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

Looking at what they are undergoing, cant help the feeling on how Boof made the Aussie boys enjoy the game and treat it as such. Boof is a Legend !!

Posted by Harvey on (January 16, 2014, 14:10 GMT)

Once he gets back to playing for Middlesex he'll be fine. There is clearly something very wrong with the England coaching set-up. He's not the only Middlesex bowler to suffer. Toby Roland-Jones' form collapsed after he got involved with the England Lions set-up last year. Both are class bowlers and will be back with a vengeance.

Posted by Tigg on (January 16, 2014, 14:10 GMT)

As with most bowlers who have been 'tinkered with' he should try to go back to how he bowled before. Run in hard, and pitch it on or just outside off stump at around 90 mph.

Just maybe a little wider on the crease.

Posted by CricketChat on (January 16, 2014, 14:06 GMT)

Really strange that he has to go back to basics after being an international bowler for a while. It isn't like he had been called for throwing and had to change his bowling action. Can't imagine how his action and confidence got messed up so badly that he had to be withdrawn from the tour altogether. Hope he he comes back strong after fixing whatever he needs to.

Posted by Harlequin. on (January 16, 2014, 14:01 GMT)

Can we pay any credence to this? Everything in this interview is exactly what I would expect a media trained English player to say to his cricket board. Nothing cricketers say any more has any relevance until they retire.

Posted by vswami on (January 16, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

Somehow the problems ( both technical and mental ) of English cricketers seem peculiar. I cant but help feel that they make a huge fuss out of every small issue and make it appear as if the world doesnt understand the hardships they are going through.

Posted by Matt.au on (January 16, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

"Take myself out of this environment, a competitive environment, and work with people what I've worked with before,"

= The coaches and trainers on this tour haven't a clue?

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (January 16, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

Line and length son - watch the Terry Alderman stuff on you tube

Posted by   on (January 16, 2014, 13:14 GMT)

He should play club cricket in Australia away from the tour group!!!

Posted by wablo55 on (January 16, 2014, 12:58 GMT)

Poor fella, must be really tough. Particularly in a dressing room and within a squad that is completely in turmoil. Good luck Finny, hope to see you back in action soon! Though if you wanted to wait until AFTER the India tour before returning to form, that would be fine.....;)

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