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January 16, 2014
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.
"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.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala