England v Australia, NatWest Series, The Oval June 30, 2012

Fast Finn thrives on in-game advice


Steven Finn benefits from support rather more advanced than a helpful pat on the back whenever he makes his way back to his mark. England's choice of five front-line bowlers has not only granted them a formidable range of options - their assortment of intellectual property is just as valuable.

Finn was the sharpest of the home attack at Lord's, topping 90 miles per hour on the way to a tidy 2 for 47 as England beat Australia by 15 runs in the first ODI. But he gained much from the advice afforded him by others who looked less fresh, namely Jimmy Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad.

Where once England cricketers kept to themselves, having a greater affinity for county teammates than national ones, now the team shares information freely, on the field as well as off it. Finn was helped by the presence of David Hussey's fellow Nottinghamshire representative Stuart Broad, who among others had the opportunity to suggest the short ball that brought about Hussey's downfall midway through Finn's spell.

"At the end of our marks everyone talks to each other," Finn said ahead of Sunday's second ODI against Australia at the Oval. "Everyone passes on their own information that they have found has worked for them in the over before, and it is a great unit to be involved in because everyone shares their own information. You have to hunt as a pack and bowl as a unit to get results.

"It is the same principle bowling at the death. You find a method that the team has thought has worked in that game on that wicket and we stick to it and we bowl it. We make them hit our best balls. I can learn off anyone. I learn a lot from talking to Jimmy, Broady and Bres because they have played a lot of one-day cricket and I don't think the pace necessarily matters too much. You can get away with a bit more if you're faster but the ball has to be hard to hit on that length. You have to find a method that works on that wicket and stick to it."

Finn's rhythm was exceptional on the day, leading Warner to say he was the best of England's bowlers "by far". "His pace, his line and lengths were fantastic. When I was out, he started swinging the ball away from the right-handers. He was the best by far," Warner said. "With his pace and his accuracy to hit those right lines, he's fantastic for them -- and yesterday I felt Anderson and Broad were a little bit tired."

The sight of the speed gun passing the 90 mark was pleasing to Finn, but less important to his progress than the fact he was putting the ball where he wanted to and moving it either way. "The more important thing is what you do with the ball and where you put it, especially in Test match cricket," Finn said. "If I can get quicker then great but it is not something that occupies my mind. It is nice that that has developed over the last 12 to 18 months and has come on leaps and bounds from where I was 18 months ago. I will keep doing the work behind the scenes that hopefully will keep me going in that fashion."

Another to enjoy the series opener was Eoin Morgan, who Finn has watched closely at Middlesex. He was unsurprised to see Morgan's blazing efforts at the end of England's innings, having seen a similar range of strokeplay before.

"I have played a lot of cricket with Eoin, since we were 16 years old, and I have seen him do it lots of time before," Finn said. "It is no surprise he is doing it in international cricket - he is one of the best players in the world especially in the sort of situation he played in at Lord's.

"He played himself in and then let loose and to have him around and in the team with his experience - he has played a lot of one-day cricket with Ireland, Middlesex and England - and to have someone like that in those situations is fantastic. How he comes up with some of those shots I have got no idea. He is a little wizard."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tim on July 1, 2012, 9:11 GMT

    @RandyOZ. I'm Australian mate, and you embarrass me. You make so many statements that are just utter rubbish. Like saying Cummins was consistently faster and more threatening than Finn. I just did the math, and Finn's Average speed was faster than Cummins. Finn's fastest delivery was equal to Cummins, but he bowled two of those to Cummins' one. I think Finn's a better bowler by far. I dare you to go back into the commentary and work out the average speeds of both of them. I think the only overrated on between the two is Cummins. Would love to see him playing county right now instead of international cricket he's not ready for, and if you want proof, he's picked up another injury. What a surprise!

  • Don on July 1, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    @RandyOz.... Swann overated......a certain Mr Warne thinks he is the best in the world (his words) but what would he know, I suppose as always we will have to bow to your superior knowledge, got your job on the Australian coaching team yet?

  • Don on July 1, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    @ RandyOz 'Cummins looked way more threatening than Finn' I take it that was in the Australian screened version of the game....looked different on English TV!

  • John on July 1, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (July 01 2012, 05:02 AM GMT), OK, now you're just flat-out lying and that's just undignified. The numbers are there for anyone to see if they care to look: Finn's average speed and top speed were both significantly higher than Cummins'. Noone in the game got near 150 kph either, so I'm not quite sure where your story about three bowlers averaging 150 came from. Does that mean that everything else you've posted isn't true too? Surely not!

  • Randolph on July 1, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    Cummins was consistently faster than Finn and looked way more menacing. Finn overrated? I'd say so, much like Swann and Bell. Time to release a book Stephen.

  • John on July 1, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    There's no doubt that prioritising the national team is one of the major reasons for England's recent success. While county cricket has always been where England players are produced, it hasn't done much to help them once they get there. Central contracts are the core of this shift in attitude and I would imagine that regulars in the national team now consider themselves very much England players first before any county affiliation. With the EPP and the Lions and the like, even more fringe players like Finn and Dernbach would very much feel part of the whole national team setup. It's probably unfair to consider Finn a fringe player these days but that's probably my bias towards Test cricket showing.

  • Shanmugam on July 1, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Why is Steven Finn still considered a RFM bowler? Shouldn't he be a RF bowler? He is as quick, if not quicker, than many who are considered fast. While I am happy that Finn is doing great in ODIs, he still has a lot to learn and even more to learn in the art of bowling in tests. In few years, though, I expect him to be a regular in the test XI too. Hopefully, he would have mastered the art of bowling in tests as well. He is still a good bowler who can attack to take a lot of wickets but he does go for a few. He is only 23 and has played 14 tests with good stats (56 wickets at 27.42 per wicket and strikes once every 7.2 overs). Hopefully, he will end up with a career haul of 400 wickets at an average under 25.

  • John on July 1, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    I really like Steve Finn. He's a fine bowler but I like him beyond that. I understand that you need some aggression to be a fast bowler but aggression doesn't have to mean attitude. I think many fast bowlers from all countries make fools of themselves when trying to stare down batsmen or mouthing off. I've never actually seen Finn say anything to a batsman. He'll have a little look every now and again but I've never even seen him scowl as some do. I quite like Brett Lee for the same reason. He'll say something now and again when he cops a bit of stick but he generally has a smile on his face and seems to view good shots by a batsman with the sort of appreciation a spectator might. James Pattinson is one of my least favourite bowlers for this reason. He's young and inexperienced but seems keen to mouth off at every available opportunity. When he pulled faces at Gautam Gambhir he looked completely juvenile. I thought Cummins was the teenager. Not sure Peter Siddle is a good role model.

  • John on June 30, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    These days England operates much more as a club rather than a collection of individuals from different clubs. It's great to see them working for each other, everyone trying to help the others succeed. That's one of the big things Flower, Strauss and now Cook have brought to the side. Finn is a very promising young bowler and the fact that he's willing to learn will help his progress considerably. I wouldn't pay any attention to Warner's "Anderson and Broad were a little bit tired" comment. Both of them have found that by bowling a little within themselves they can improve both their accuracy and their ability to get lateral movement. Top-class players aren't much bothered by pace, it's the ball nipping around off a perfect length that gets them out. Maybe Warner should go back and watch some film of Glen McGrath- only just above medium pace, but man was he difficult to play.

  • david on June 30, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    warner talking about anderson and broad looking tired. i guess their so called rest not doing thm much good. but with JA as stated an injury but also a bug of sorts. leave out for more important deeds.

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