England in India 2012-13

Finn fitness raises Kolkata hopes

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 29, 2012

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn bowls in the nets, Haryana v England XI, Ahmedabad, 4th day, November 11, 2012
Steven Finn is to stay with the England Test squad after proving his fitness © Getty Images

Steven Finn will remain with the England squad and could be set to feature in the third Test against India after coming through unscathed in the England Performance Programme team's match against Dr DY Patil Sports Academy. Finn will travel to Kolkata with the rest of the Test squad on Friday, meaning Stuart Meaker returns to the EPP party.

Although Finn went wicketless from seven overs during the innings victory, he bowled with good pace and reported no discomfort. It had been expected that he would be sent home should any doubts about his fitness remain but he is now in contention to replace Stuart Broad for the Kolkata Test.

Finn missed the first two Tests of the series after injuring his thigh during England's opening warm-up match against India A. He subsequently aggravated the problem and had only bowled four overs on tour before being included in the EPP side. In the first innings he claimed 4 for 50 and his extra pace, carry and bounce could give England's attack a different dimension on sluggish surfaces.

Broad, who remains the fast bowler with the most Test wickets in 2012, has not added to his tally in two appearances against India and suffered from illness in the build-up to the Mumbai Test, which England won by ten wickets to square the four-Test series. Since July, Broad has taken 11 Test wickets at 54.00 and England bowling coach, David Saker, recently admitted that his performance in Mumbai "wasn't up to scratch".

In the EPP match, Durham legspinner Scott Borthwick took six wickets on the final day, as the hosts were bowled out for just 87. Meaker, who was called up as cover for Finn at the start of November, again impressed by taking 3 for 8 in the innings-and-193-run win.

Ian Bell will rejoin the squad in Kolkata, having returned to England on paternity leave, while James Tredwell has been added as cover for the senior spinners, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by vagee on (December 2, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

M.Vijay, G. Gambhir, C. Pujara, S. Tendulkar, V. Kohli, V. Sehwag, M.S. Dhoni, R. Ashwin, I.Sharma, P.Ojha, A.Dinda..... No use keeping zak in team if MSD makes him bowl only 5 overs in an innings. Rather he can give opportunity to dinda and ishant. If this do not work out this is my team for south africa tour (purely based on performance)

A. Rahane, G. Gambhir (capt), C. Pujara, S. Badrinath, V. Kohli, D.Karthick, R.Jadeja,I.Pathan, R.Ashwin, A. Dinda, Z.Khan Bench: U. Yadav, I.Sharma, P.Ojha, M.Tiwary, Smit patel (2nd wk , opening batsman)

Posted by SDHM on (December 1, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

@electric-loco - suggest you check Swann's record against Pakistan & Sri Lanka, and his Test bowling average in Asia overall. Live in denial all you want, but he's pretty good.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (December 1, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

@64W, it would be nice to think that India will be cooperative in Kolkata too and roll over quickly, but you have to prepare for the possibility that England will have to bowl 150 overs and that the seamers may have to come back for 3, 4, or even 5 spells in all. Finn did not bowl flat out in the first innings. He was closer to full pace in the second innings (7 overs in one spell). A Test though will be far more demanding. Having seen Stuart Broad's efforts when far from fully match fit I do not want to see the same error repeated. He needs to be sure that he can bowl more than one spell hitting 90mph. The idea is to win the Test, not to offer freebies to the Indian batsmen and play them back into form.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 1, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

Cpt.Meanster- Spot on mate -better Eng admit that county trundlers like Anderson are no good at this level and the only decent fast bowl option is Steve Finn who can test batsmen with pace atleast . The problem is who is there to support - Finn can't by himself shoulder all burden ...surely.About the spinners- Panesar is distinctly bog average-unless occasionaly he picks wickets on 'minefields' Swann is proving ordinary with recent big defeats vs Pak ,SL and at home by S Africans -Exposing him after a few good series picking wickets vs weaklings like Bang,WI, NZ etc. Waiting for the Ashes though where the world's best batsman M Clarke is going to smash all records vs this Eng side- A couple of 300s including (most possibly) the first 400+ score is going to be taken off Eng bowling by Clarke himself....But for v poor weather another Ashes 5-0 drubbing is in waiting for Eng in just few months now...

Posted by subbass on (December 1, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

Anderson a county trundler ? yeah that's why he has taken over 200 test wickets and is rated number 2 in the world and is probably the best swing bowler on the planet. Damn, some people on here are either clueless or on a wind up.

Posted by xylo on (December 1, 2012, 0:48 GMT)

7 overs and match fit? I hope the English team do not become penny wise but pound foolish!

Posted by 64W..HotShot on (December 1, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer Hey, but the fact that he had a good run in the first innings is enough don't you think.? It's like if he palyed a one day game, the fact remains that England would use him in short sharp burst, and face it, England would bat much longer than that team did, giving him a longer rest between innings, also look at the second innings in Mumbai, the quicks (sorry, the quick-Anderson. Broad is a spinner who doesn't turn the ball), didn't bowl that much.. I think England should risk him, if he can get the first 3 indian wickets early in the first innings- in the subcontinent the first innings in the most important, I think England should wrap this up comfortably.

Posted by Ross_Co on (November 30, 2012, 23:33 GMT)

I see they're still using the picture of Finn kicking the stumps over in his follow through. Are pics of him not doing that really that rare?

Posted by Shan156 on (November 30, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster, surely, an Indian fan has no business calling bowlers like Anderson and Broad trundlers. Look at your own bowling 'attack', if you can call it one. The unfit Zaheer and the useless Ishant are the ones who are the real trundlers. How many wickets did fat Zak take in Mumbai? At least, Anderson took one.

Broad definitely doesn't deserve a place in the XI. What are they doing? I hope the favoritism plague is not affecting England. I do like Broad as a cricketer but he seems so out of form and looks clueless in the field whether he has a bat or a ball in his hand or neither. He should get some rest, get himself fit physically and mentally and get ready for the NZ tour. Give a chance to Finn, England. Don't worry about the long tail. It wasn't any better with Broad and Bresnan in the XI, not in these conditions.

Posted by promal on (November 30, 2012, 18:51 GMT)

If Ian Bell returned to England on "maternity leave", I think we have a real problem!

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (November 30, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

LOL @ Anderson county trundlers. Blinders are hard to take off once they are put on. I also never understood the obsession with pace. It does you no good if bowlers who are blessed with pace spray it all over...in fact just ask Finn of 2 years ago.

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Bring James Tredwell in place of samit patel to bring better results. My team for Kokata test: 1.Cook. 2. compton.3.Trott.4.Pieterson 5.Ian Bell. 6.Prior 7.Anderson 8.Swann 9.Panesar 10.Tredwell 11.Bairstow

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (November 30, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

Unfortunately this game has done little to demonstrate that Finn is completely match fit because the opposition rolled over so easily in the end. Even though Finn had a good bowl in the first innings, he only got 7 overs in the second innings. It would have been good to see him have to come back for a second spell and see him still firing then. Management has to be certain that, if he does replace Stuart Broad, we are not just replacing one half-fit bowler with another.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 29, 2012, 23:25 GMT)

@Charlie Ellis on (November 29 2012, 15:55 PM GMT), I think that the EPP squad will be in India for a little longer so Meaker would be easily accessible should the need arise.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 29, 2012, 21:20 GMT)

If Steve Finn is 100%, then that is the best possible news. He must have Broad's place & England's attack will be significantly strengthened. However, if he goes into his stump-clipping routine that will exasperate England supporters. Surely that problem has been ironed out by now! Wkts are likely to be hard earned at Kolkata. Like Charles Ellis, I am concerned that Meaker has been kept with the EPP side. Should Finn not be fit, or there's a mishap to Jimmy, does this mean that Broad returns by default? Is Onions in the picture, or Bres? I'd have either of the two in preference to SB. The momentum is with England & that can be driven home with the new problems that Finn should pose. I am intrigued to see whether Bell resumes at #5 or if Jonny B is given another go. Instinct says: don't change a winning side. SB's lack of form proves the exception to that rule, so are further changes likely or necessary? Personally, I think IB needs a wake-up call, but he might be short of sleep anyway!

Posted by AK47_pk on (November 29, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

Meaker shud play next test. Hes short so its easy for him to bowl full which is wat you shud be doing on these pitches if you have good pace. Good luck england.

Posted by   on (November 29, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

Meaker will still be in India and available to be called up should Finn be injure so your commment Charlie is non applicable

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 29, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

Can't wait for him to clean-up the mess that is in Indian Cricket. For the starters, please clean-up the elephant in India's dressing room. Please do us this favour, Finn. I shall support England in all the series not involving India for the rest of my life if you could do this for us. God bless you and hope you are really really fit.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 29, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

Finn is a class act. Unlike Anderson, Broad and co. who are county trundlers. Finn, Panesar and Swann are a good bowling unit themselves. England need 1 more guy.. Meaker perhaps ?

Posted by   on (November 29, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

I dunno Charlie, I would more rather either Onions (Wicket to wicket bowler) or Finn (genuinely quick with a threatening bouncer on any surface) over Meaker. Having said that, i do feel Broad could do with a bit of time outside the team. He has a fine record at home (113 wickets at 28.74) but away he has struggled (59 wickets at 38.05). I know pace bowlers don't take wickets that easily on the subcontinent. But he bowled well in the UAE and has been effective as a lower order batsman so we shall see. The problem for England is their obsession of picking bowlers who can bat. You can't imagine England not picking Cook (our best batsman) because he doesn't bowl. Yet Monty in favourable conditions didn't get picked in effect because he cant get you runs!

Posted by SDHM on (November 29, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

Charlie - I agree. Apparently he came very close to playing in Mumbai; I get the feeling Flower & Cook want to try and get him into the side at some point soon, so I think you'll see him in the touring squad to New Zealand definitely. I'd be happy with either him or Finn playing, or indeed Onions; Onions is too a wicket taker, he just doesn't have the pace of the other two. He is however naggingly accurate, bowls very straight and is quicker than you think: he'd be a real handful on a 4th or 5th day pitch starting to keep low. Just can't see how Broad can keep his place at the moment, and if he doesn't it's beginning to look like favouritism. He's an excellent cricketer who has suffered bad injuries and is struggling to get back to his best, and Test cricket is not the place to do that.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (November 29, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

England should have no illusions about the toughness of the next test, it will for a start be played on another dust-bowl of a wicket, that may turn into a minefield on days 4-5. To continue playing positively is the key for them. As they've done all series, without success in the 1st test, the middle order particularly have looked to attack and find the next boundary. England fans will be hoping their world's best opener in Cook will continue his run further. England's now legendary 'Spin Twins' just need to continue what they've been doing all series.

Posted by   on (November 29, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

I'd have kept Meaker in the squad; given the likelihood that England will play Swann and Monty in both the remaining Tests, that means you can afford one of your quicks to be just a strike bowler who bowls in short bursts. While Finn is a more proven option to play that role alongside Anderson, were he deemed unfit then Meaker surely has more ability to grab a wicket than the more containing Onions or out-of-form Broad?

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