England in India 2012-13 January 7, 2013

Finn vital in inexperienced England attack

England's rotation policy has left them short of experience in the bowling ranks in India but in Steven Finn they have a quick bowler who can cause damage - so long as he stays fit

England will find out plenty more about their much-vaunted bowling depth over the next few weeks. Their options for the one-day series against India are inexperienced, verging on callow, in the absence of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann.

Tim Bresnan has played 65 ODIs. The next most-capped bowler is Steven Finn with 25 appearances; although Broad is due to bolster the squad for the final two matches.

The experience of Bresnan and strike-power of Finn will both be vital if England are to end their horror run of one-day results in the India. Not since the 3-3 draw in 2001-02, inspired by Andrew Flintoff with a significant role played by the now coach Ashley Giles, have England competed in coloured clothes on Indian soil.

The previous two series, in 2008 and 2011, were 5-0 whitewashes but in the second of those contests Finn emerged as a one-day bowler of considerable skill, extracting life from surfaces where others struggled and troubled India's top order with his pace and bounce. Finn's one-day numbers are impressive - 40 wickets at 25.90 - but there is a nagging concern about the amount of time he is spending sidelined by injury. It is not only Australia's young quicks who are limping off.

His Test series in India before was restricted to one appearance, albeit a decisive one in Kolkata where he claimed four wickets, with his tour top and tailed by thigh and back injuries. He returned to action in the opening warm-up match, against India A, sending down seven wicketless overs for 42 on a bitterly cold day in Delhi.

Finn will be essential in helping England claim early breakthroughs, which will take on added importance given the recent amendment to ODI playing conditions, allowing one fewer fielder outside the circle in non-Powerplay overs. England could not make early inroads against India A as the openers added 118 to lay the base for a matchwinning total.

But David Saker, the England bowling coach, believes another tweak to ODI playing conditions, to allow two bouncers per over, will favour England despite a feeling the bowlers overdid the short bowling against India A.

"We've talked about the regulations quite a lot and come up with our plans but until we get out there and see how those plans work we won't really be sure,'' Saker said. "I think they'll be in favour of us with the fast bowling attack we have, definitely in English conditions although India may be a little different.

"My philosophy is to do the basics right and our normal plans should still work well, but the big thing is the extra bouncers that will be bowled. If the wicket is conducive then it is going to play into our hands.''

With Finn and Bresnan almost certain starters, and James Tredwell likely to be the one frontline spinner, the final two pace-bowling slots will come from Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker and Chris Woakes. Dernbach was the pick of the attack against India A with 2 for 23 from seven overs while Woakes would add depth to the batting, the facet of his game that is developing more swiftly.

However, Meaker, who made his ODI debut on the previous India one-day tour, is an exciting prospect capable of reaching 90mph even on sluggish surfaces. It will be an interesting contest between the trio because there may be room for only one of them in a full-strength one-day squad when Anderson and Broad return.

England's opposition on Tuesday will include Ashish Nehra, the injury-plagued left-arm quick who last played for India during the 2011 World Cup, and Parvinder Awana who made his international debut in the Twenty20 series against England before Christmas but went wicketless in the two matches.

With an eye on India's future, though, there is an even more interesting name to follow. Unmukt Chand, the 19-year-old batsman who scored a hundred in the Under-19 World Cup final, will be at the top of the order. It will be a chance to for Chand to go head-to-head with Kevin Pietersen, his Delhi Daredevils team-mate, who he has credited with helping his game.

"You really feel confident when you have a session with someone like Kevin Pietersen," Chand said during the Champions League T20 last year. "I had an elaborate session in Pretoria where he gave me some valuable tips on technique."

Virender Sehwag has just been dropped by India and there could still be more changes to come if the series against England does not go well. Chand may not have to wait too long for his elevation.

21.00GMT, January 7: This article was correct to amend reference to Chand being the player of the U-19 World Cup

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Neil on January 8, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    I think depth is Englands weakness in ODI cricket. When our best XI is out, we are I think a strong unit in all conditions, but are affected more than most when we have injuries and absences. For me India, lack confidence not depth. Finn, Swann and Broad (when fit) are world class ODI bowlers, Anderson is dangerous when part of a strong unit and Patels impact as the all rounder has been really underrated, But Dernbach seems has never impressed me, Meaker looks promising, but at the longer format for now, he seems expensive, Bresnan despite many appearances has on ordinary ODI record. England will be very reliant on the top 4 batsmen and Indias own lack of confidence. Winning an ODiIseries in Inida is one the great challenges for England in this format, gven the last 2 series results and I would have preferred they went with a full strength team, and rested players in NZE, but I guess they are thinking about the WC in Aus and Champions Trophy in Eng

  • j on January 8, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    When the Aussies got Whitewashed by England in England in 2012, Finn was just one of England's champion bowling unit. Looks like more of the same this year.

  • VENKATACHALAM on January 8, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Meaker is much more valuable because he is sharp and a wicket taker. Bresnan in comparison is a trundler and will be canon fodder for India's top order.

  • Pushpakumara on January 8, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    If Finn and Meaker are so pacy as some guys say why are they still categorized as "fast medium" in their cricinfo profiles,instead of "fast"?

  • Nicholas on January 8, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    I don't know which is the more surprising: RandyOZ giving a sniff of a compliment about an English bowler, or Front-Foot-Lunge getting a Featured Comment :-) Great stuff.

  • Shanmugam on January 8, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    @Trickstar, I admit I worded it incorrectly. What I meant to say was that England, currently ranked #1, ought to do better than previous results in India. We have done well in ODIs of late to deserve that #1 ranking but I only wanted to point out that our ODI record in India is appalling. We need not reverse it necessarily. Would be an herculean task to actually win the series but we should at least win a game or two. Another 5-0 result would really hurt.

    And, I do believe that India has enough quality to inflict another 5-0 whitewash on us, their recent defeats against Pak. notwithstanding. We had a better team last year than the one we currently have and were still thumped. And, India were missing Yuvraj, scourge of England's attack in the past, among others. With Kohli and Dhoni averaging >50, and Raina who has good stats against us in ODIs, I think Indian batting is really strong considering our raw bowling attack.

  • Arun on January 8, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    Sure that India will win this series given the fact that English attack don't have a leftarmer or a genuine swing bowler in their arsenal, who wouldn't test Indian top order with in and out swingers as junaid did. Gambhir could escape this time around aswell. Looking forward to see how pujara manoeuvres in middle of the innings. Exciting future prospect unmukt hoping him to score big to roar his way into team India.

  • Rob on January 8, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    I like the rotation policy and believe it is neccessary to prevent burn out, which with the 3 formats and lack of rest is inevitable. Hopefully Finn will not break down leaving us severely weakened, this is a serious bilateral affair and not a development tour and I dread the thought of getting walloped and the usual inane posts re:Indian wealth of talent, cricketing and world superpower stuff and of course the Randy0z/Jones2 and the identity fraudster. I am also 'outing' The_Ashes it hails from some part of the Asian continent and most certainly not England or the land of the dingo. This series could go either way and if England could start well, Indian confidence must be low right now, we'll see. Interesting the story of Dhonni being given all those MOM's to preserve his confidence, and who said the sporting spirit is dead- you couldn't make it up.

  • paul on January 8, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    I don't think it's right what the writer says about vaunted bowling depth, in Test match cricket we have that much vaunted bowling attack, not so much in one day cricket though, it's just not something the Counties seem to concentrate on for some reason.Tbh though any team missing 3 of their automatic choices is going to look inexperienced I agree with others, with Swann being rested it should have been an option Monty playing but saying that his record is awful even in List A.

    @Shan156 what does a teams record years ago have with their present ranking, it doesn't.England's record this year especially has been amazing, only losing 2 games out of 14 and didn't lose a single game against Pakistan, WI & Australia. India aren't as good and England have changed since even the last time. Funny how you're so sure it's going to be 5-0 to India, have you been watching them play recently, if you had you would be struggling to see how they'd win a series against even Bangladesh.

  • Geoffrey on January 8, 2013, 1:03 GMT

    Finn will be the best fast bowler in the world in a few years.