Pakistan v England 2011-12 February 8, 2012

Finn wants to stop carrying drinks

You might expect a man on the fringes of a team - and a losing team at that - to point out the failings of his colleagues in an attempt to advance his own ambitions.

Steven Finn, however, is not that sort. While he admits to frustration at having been 12th man throughout England's Test series against Pakistan, he remains fiercely protective of his under fire colleagues, insisting this is not the time for knee-jerk reactions.

Finn came within an ace of playing in both the first two Tests of the series against Pakistan in the UAE. On the first occasion he missed out to Chris Tremlett and on the second he missed out to Monty Panesar. Panesar's subsequent success ended Finn's hopes of selection for the third Test and he was a powerless onlooker as England, their batsmen bamboozled by Pakistan's spin attack, succumbed to a 3-0 whitewash.

"In terms of having to change personnel, I don't think we need that kind of knee-jerk reactions at the moment," Finn said. "The side has been very, very successful over the last two years with the personnel who played in this series. There's no doubt we have the best people available in the country playing in the team, we just didn't adapt to the conditions as quickly as we'd have hoped.

"The bowlers did a fantastic job during this Test series. Obviously I wanted to play every game and I was disappointed that I didn't, but that's the way it goes.

"I'm getting very good at mixing drinks for the boys. I've sort of got used to it over the last 12 months. But it's not the sort of thing you enjoy getting used to."

The worry for England is that they have lost nine of their last ten international games. It is a run that extends back to the final Twenty20 international game against West Indies in September and includes the tour of India, the current tour of the UAE and all three formats of the game.

While their Test form has been, until recently, good, their ODI form away from home has been wretched. They lost all five ODIs against India in October and have lost 14 of their last 20 ODIs outside England. There are few realistic grounds for optimism going into the ODI series against Pakistan.

But Finn was one of the few successes of England's limited-overs tour of India. Not only did he take the most wickets of any English bowler - eight - but he also proved the most economical, conceding 5.27 runs an overs. He bowled at a sharp pace and showed a newly acquired ability to reverse swing the ball. Aged just 22, he is one of England's brightest prospects.

Now he hopes that he can be part of a fresh injection of young talent into an England camp that is looking to the future and the World Cup in Australasia in particular. In Finn, along with new additions Jos Buttler (aged 21), Danny Briggs (aged 20), and the likes of recently capped Jonny Bairstow (aged 22), England hope they have the nucleus of a bright, young side that can lead the team to brighter times.

"This one-day team is a very youthful, very exciting place to be," Finn said. "The guys coming in, the fresh faces, are going to be very enthusiastic to show what they can do.

"They're very skilled players as well, so they're going to be breathing down the necks of the guys in the team. I think this one-day series is going to be a great opportunity for us to put what's gone under the carpet."

Finn also feels that Friday's game against England Lions will present an excellent opportunity for young players to catch the eye of the England management. While Andy Flower, the England coach, has confirmed that Lions players will not be promoted to the senior squad irrespective of performances in the game, Finn knows from experience that such games can provide a useful 'shop window.'

It was in the same stadium in Abu Dhabi in February 2010 that Finn, along with Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb, were part of a Lions side that beat England. On the strength of that performance, Kieswetter and Lumb were selected as the opening partnership for the World Twenty20 while Finn wasn't far behind in a call up.

"Friday's game is going to be important for everyone, on either of the two sides," Finn said. "There's great opportunity for people on both sides to push for places in every format of the game. If you look at Kieswetter and Lumb, they played against the England team over here two years ago, the next month they were opening the batting in the World Twenty20. I played in that game, too, and less than a month later, I was playing Test cricket.

"Andy Flower and the management team are looking for people's attitudes; they're looking for things other than just performances - and games like this are a great opportunity for people on both sides to show everything they can give."

The Lions team will contain all the members of the senior England squad who do not make it into the main England side for Friday's match.

Meanwhile Andy Hurry, the first team coach at Somerset, has joined the England party to deputise for Richard Halsall, the fielding coach and Flower's unofficial deputy, who has returned to England to be with his heavily pregnant wife.

England are also looking into the possibility of some of their players - notably Ian Bell, who has been left out of the limited-overs squads - travelling to Sri Lanka ahead of the rest of the party to acclimatise to the pitches and conditions. It is possible that Bell will be able to represent a local side in Sri Lankan domestic competition, as have the likes of Varun Chopra and Moeen Ali in recent weeks.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo