England confident on Finn fitness
Steven Finn, the England fast bowler, is expected to be available for the first Test against India and he has said he is looking to put pressure on Stuart Broad and James Anderson for the new ball.
Finn limped out of England's opening tour match after just four overs with a thigh strain suffered in the field but has been taking a full part in training sessions and could share the new ball with Anderson on Thursday if Broad has not recovered from a bruised heel. Whoever is selected, both Finn and Broad will be short of match practice.
Finn made his England Test debut against Bangladesh in March 2010 and played in every Test that calendar year until being dropped for the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne. Despite his height, pace and wicket-taking ability, he was criticised for being expensive, something Finn feels he has addressed.
"I suppose when I started, I was a little bit expensive," Finn told Sport magazine. "But I still managed to take wickets, which is probably what kept me in the team. My economy rate in Tests, 3.66, isn't terrible - but it's not great either. I set myself very high standards, and it's probably not up to scratch by those standards."
Finn took 46 wickets at 26.23 from his debut until the Perth Test in December 2010. "The criticism of my knack of leaking runs hasn't been unfair but I was young at the time and I'd back myself now to be able to hold an end up and not give away as many runs," he said. "I feel like I've learned and developed a lot over the last 18 months.
"I've proved in limited-overs cricket for England that my economy rate has been as good as anyone's. I go at 4.67 runs an over in one-day internationals, and my T20 rate, 6.70, is okay as well and there's no reason why I can't transfer that into Test cricket."
Finn has forced his way back into the England bowling attack and has benefited from the help offered by the senior members of the attack. "The guys who have opened the bowling for the past two or three years have been exceptional," he said. "Broady and Jimmy have both been brilliant, so I think it would be hard for me to knock either of them off their perch.
"I'm not saying it's not something I'm aspiring to, though, because I've enjoyed taking the new ball in one-day and T20 cricket - and it's something I've done for Middlesex since I was 18 or 19 years old. It's something I'm accustomed to and really enjoy."
Finn is keen to test himself in subcontinental conditions again, having been one of few bright points for England during their ODI tour of India in October 2011. He took eight wickets at 31.62 with an economy rate of 5.27, when England as a team went at 5.88 an over during the 5-0 defeat.
"I've always enjoyed bowling on subcontinent pitches because you need a different set of skills and I think that suits me," he says. "You need to be able to reverse-swing the ball, your changes of angles on the crease are important, and having that bit of pace also helps on those sorts of wickets.
"There's definitely room for aggression, too. We saw that India struggled with the short ball when they came over to England last summer, and just because the wickets are slower there's no reason why you can't still use it."
Finn will resume his battle against Virat Kohli, a batsman in exceptional recent form, against whom Finn has played since he was 17. "He's not invincible," Finn said. "And we have a very good track record when it comes to getting the big men out."
Another big man is Sachin Tendulkar, who will be 40 in April and could end his Test career at the end of the forthcoming series. "There's been talk of that," Finn said. "The bloke averages 55 in Test cricket and obviously still loves the game; but you can't play the man - you have to play only the batsman in front of you, no matter what his name is. It would be nice to say I was the last person to take Tendulkar's wicket in Tests - definitely something to tell the grandkids."