England in New Zealand 2012-13 March 4, 2013

Finn keeps his run-up short and simple

Steven Finn will continue to use his new shortened run-up in the Test series against New Zealand after quickly finding success with it in the one-day series.

Instigated through a combination of long-term work with David Saker, the England bowling coach, and the problem of kicking the stumps in his delivery stride - which has led to a Law change by MCC that will take effect on October 1 - Finn unveiled his new approach during the final ODI in Napier and produced an opening six-over spell that went for just 11 runs.

He did not play in the warm-up match in Queenstown, instead spending more time with Saker on the sidelines, and is feeling increasingly confident in his new technique. "It felt good in the one-day series. I bowled with it in practice every day, and it feels good," he said. "We'll see what happens in the Test matches. But my first over will be off the shorter run.

"It is geared towards being more consistent, being able to bowl for longer spells and for longer in the day and keeping me as fresh as possible. The shorter run-up so far has worked well for me. I think it allows me to be stronger at the crease, in a better position. I felt like I got more bounce off the shorter run," he added.

"Whether that just happened on those wickets or whether it was the shorter run that was doing it, I don't know. Over a longer period of time, I'll be able to assess that and tell. But it certainly felt as though I was more compact at the crease and more controlled."

He will keep his traditional longer run-up in reserve in case he decides to return to it, but while Finn has complete control over what delivery pattern he uses that does not extend to which end he will bowl from. There was a strong wind in Dunedin on Monday, which could assist Finn in finding extra pace if he bowls with it to his back, but he will need to defer to James Anderson. "I'll have to negotiate with Jimmy, I think," he said. "If I get the wind, then great."

This match will actually mark another return to the Test side for Finn. He missed the final match of the series in India, at Nagpur, after picking up a back injury following an important contribution to victory in Kolkata. Since being dropped midway through the 2010-11 Ashes, Finn has only strung together back-to-back Tests once (against South Africa last year) and England need to ensure they can get some decent stretches out of a key fast bowler. The long run-up may have gone, but now he wants a long run.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Harmon on March 6, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    Not seen his new run up but a bit of common sense would tell us that with less distance to run, he either now will have to run faster to build up the momentum or would need to rely on his shoulders and back a bit more to get the same pace. It makes him a bit more prone to either knee/ankle injuries or shoulder/back injuries. It is never a good idea to ask your body to do something which is out of sync with its rhythm. Doing so will stress one or the other component a bit more than it was used to. IMO, more than his muscles it would be his joints and other bones that would get more stressed. He is a promising bowler who should go a long way but it would be a pity if he becomes another Cummins who can't seem to walk from his bedroom to his bathroom without getting injured.

    A more obvious change could have been to ask him to bowl a bit wider, a change in his run up won't help him if he keeps delivering ball from the same spot with the same release action.

  • Peter on March 6, 2013, 0:20 GMT

    Time will tell, but this sounds like a great move for Steven Finn. The one possible argument against a shortened-run would be loss of pace - but that doesn't seem to be affected. Hopefully, he'll have better control and also be a little less susceptible to injuries. If that turns out to be the case, he's got a big future. This is a series where Stuart Broad needs to prove himself - and England need him to do well with the ball. Apart from a quality new-ball pair, the pace dept. looks a bit thin. With questions over Broad; whether Bresnan can return to his pre-surgery self; Tremlett's long absence through injury; and Onions out of contention after the tour game, it should be an opportunity to give Woakes a try. His first-class record as an all-rounder is highly impressive, so he really should be given a chance. Disappointing news about Swanny, but I'm not too bothered as long as he's ok for The Ashes. Panesar and Tredwell are both quality bowlers in their own right, so no disaster.

  • Owen on March 5, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    @JG2704 - agreed, England's pace stocks are a little thin (but not drastic) but it will only take Tremletts recovering and a successful Bresnan surgery for us to have a very decent second-string attack again. I am hoping Woakes can get a little more exposure in this series - at least one test would be good to see what he can do in the longer format.

    As for Finn, I spent most of the past year moaning about Smiths gamesmanship but now it seems Finn has turned it into his advantage!

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    3 other quick bowlers (who immediately spring to mind) shortened their run ups in the mid to latter stages of their careers and were devastatingly effective....Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee and NZ's own Richard Hadlee.....Steve Finn will be a happy man if he can replicate their exploits!

  • John on March 4, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    @clarke501 on (March 4, 2013, 12:13 GMT) You're right. I believe that when he was dropped in the last Ashes series he was our highest wicket taker at the time but he was leaking runs. As it happens Bres and Tremlett came in for Finn abd Broad and Finn moved back down the pecking order. I think it was Tremlett getting injured which gave Broad his chance at redemption which he grasped vs India. Seems an age ago when our bowling looked so healthy

  • Nicholas on March 4, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    I agree he actually looks better with the shorter run-up. Often his longer run-up (nevermind the 'Finn-knee stump saga') looked a bit cumbersome; with the shorter run I wouldn't be surprised if he consistently clocks up higher speeds and better accuracy. Go get 'em Finn-knee!

  • John on March 4, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    Finn looked much better off the short run. He was accelerating all the way to the crease, looked better balanced and bowling from a more upright position. That will give him more lift and control. His pace hardly seemed to suffer and certainly his ability to sustain his pace for longer will improve.

    It might turn out that the stump-clipping was a blessing in disguise.

  • Cricinfouser on March 4, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    The suggestion in the article that injury is responsible for Finn not playing back to back tests is wrong. Apart from the India tour, he's been fit and available for test selection since the Ashes, as evidenced by the fact that he has been a regular in the ODI side over the last 18 months or so.

  • j on March 4, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    Mr Finn is looking lethal in time for the B2B Ashes, and with the Ozzies being utterly humiliated on the sub continent right now it's looking good for England.

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