Sri Lanka v England 2011-12

Finn hopeful of England recall

Andrew McGlashan

March 31, 2012

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Steven Finn has Prasanna Jayawardene caught behind, Sri Lanka Board XI v England XI, tour match, Colombo, 3rd day, March 17, 2012
Steven Finn took seven wickets during England's two warm-up games in Sri Lanka © AFP
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Steven Finn is keeping his fingers crossed that he is the man chosen to replace the injured Stuart Broad for the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Broad was forced to fly home on Friday with a calf injury leaving England needing to fill a fast-bowling slot as they aim to level the series and cling onto their No. 1 Test ranking.

Finn, who has taken 50 wickets at 26.92 in 12 Tests, has endured a frustrating time on the sidelines of the five-day team despite consistently impressive one-day form against India and Pakistan. Since being dropped after the third Ashes Test in Perth he has played just one more match, against Sri Lanka at Lord's, but has made sure he has channelled his disappointment into a drive to improve.

"We don't know who is going to play, but if I get my opportunity I'm ready to take it," Finn said. "I have felt as though I have been ready for a little while now. I have done a lot of bowling this winter and a lot of work on becoming a better bowler. Hopefully I can reap the rewards of that if I get a chance."

Despite not yet playing a Test during England's overseas campaigns in 2012 Finn hasn't been short of bowling. He was the stand-out performer during the 5-0 one-day whitewash against India, taking eight wickets at 31.62, before a trip to New Zealand to play domestic cricket for Otago. He didn't fill his boots in the Plunket Shield - taking nine wickets in four matches - but it kept him ticking over. Then, after sitting out the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, he claimed an outstanding 13 wickets at 10.30 in the four-match ODI series. Finn admits to moments of frustration but has learned to be patient.

"When you have the ups and downs of being in the mix but not playing you can feel down pretty quickly but it's a team game and we need to have a strong squad," he said. "We have to be able to compensate for injuries as we'll have to in this next Test match. All I can do as a back-up player is to be ready when the opportunity comes."

However, it may not be quite so simple as a straight swap of Finn for Broad. That one change would give England a tail of Finn, James Anderson and Monty Panesar which could leave Andy Flower uneasy. Tim Bresnan is an all-round option, although to play him as one two quicks may not be enough given Bresnan's lack of bowling in recent months so they may have to consider dropping Monty Panesar.

"Broad is a huge and important player for us but we've got a group of guys in the wings who can cover for him," Finn said. "But Broady is a massive part of the team and will be missed."

Finn also repeated the mantra from the dressing room that the team remains in good spirits despite four straight Test defeats. Another reversal in Colombo and England will concede top spot in the rankings to South Africa and it could get worse than that. If Australia then go on and whitewash West Indies in their three-Test series, they will move above England into second.

"Yes, we've lost four Tests this winter but we've been in positions to win three of them," Finn said. "We are not out of the hunt. We got to No. 1 for a reason and we just have to keep the belief. A lot of things over the last two or three years have gone our way and we realise it does come around to even itself out."

Edited by Alan Gardner

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 2, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

@Chetan007 I don't know why that is. If the pitch isn't taking likely to take much spin then I'm not totally against dropping Monty as a tactical thing but while they are prepared to do this , they seem unprepared to change things tactically by dropping a batsman for a bowler which they've not tried for the whole 2012 inc the warm up games. Not sure why this is - there seems no consistency between how the bowlers are treated and how the batsmen are treated , whether it's because they have some theory that bowlers can turn on their form with a switch or because we have less depth with our batsmen. I wonder what would happen if our batsmen were racking up big totals which our bowlers weren't able to defend. Does anyone think they'd be given 4 losing tests to get it right?

Posted by   on (April 2, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

i think finn should play instead of broad and bresnan should be rested therefore leaving samit, swann, anderson, finn and panesar as the bowlers. i feel that a simple swap of finn for broad would be good because before the tail, they have 8 players who have recognized batting talent but the most important factor for a team's victory is their bowlers. the team has to have bowlers capable of taking 20 wickets. In sub continent conditions, you need spinners and england have 3 in their ranks. So, replacing a spin bowler( panesar)with an all-rounder( bresnan) would not be tat good a choice considering the bowling form of bresnan in recent times also. Moreover, you already have 8 potential batsmen, so why think of another instead of strengthening the bowling department, which is the most important factor for winning a test. Finn is a quality bowler who would be an ideal replacement for broad with his height and lankiness.

Posted by Meety on (April 2, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

Dunno - but I think it will be a runfest in this test. SL really need to look at their new ball bowlers, I think they'll almost be better off playing 4 spinners. Backing centuries from KP, Sanga, & Samaweera.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 21:47 GMT)

@Greatest_Game on (April 01 2012, 14:42 PM GMT) Earned every gloat - Hang on a minute there were more gloats during the ODI whitewash by India than there were comments at the end of the Eng test whitewash. And then when India are whitewashed by Aus and fail to qualify for 2 ODI finals with a huge field of 4 and 3 teams , do we come on your threads and gloat about your team's demise? And then you accuse us of Jingoism when we have been our own fiercest critics. Once again , our fans' reaction to our defeats has been class. Pakistan fans downplayed reaction to their test victory and our downplayed reaction to winning that OD series were both class and I believe we will always have respect for team Pakistan. Your "If SL triumph in Colombo, the gloating will become unbearable" says it all really.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 1, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

@jb633 on (April 01 2012, 00:35 AM GMT) A bit drastic with Strauss but I like your positive thinking. However I do feel Strauss's onfield captaincy has been good and they might miss that aspect. Also I'm not convinced about Ravi in pressure situations

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

JG2704 is right. If 5 batsmen can't get the runs, 6 hardly makes much of a difference. An aggressive strategy with 5 attacking bowlers seem to be the best option to arrest the unfortunate trend of losses -- which almost made me joke about England trying to catch up with the latest Indian record of 8 straight losses in tests.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

Please allow England to catch up with the Indian record, the way they caught with the No.1 ranking. Now, four down, four more to go, to catch up with another recent Indian record!

Posted by Rahulbose on (April 1, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

I hope they pick Finn, he looks a good bowler. Would love to see him bowl and see how he goes in sub-continent conditions.

Posted by stormy16 on (April 1, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Finn for Broad, Bresnan for Samit. The option of playing Bopara as a batter for Patel should not be an option in my opinion. It basically a do or die game for Eng, if they dont win, the lose the series and #1 ranking and to win the game you have to give youself the best chance of getting 20 wickets. I also dont think the P.Sara wicket will be as hard to bat on so Eng need to back their 5+Prior +Bresnan and Swan to get enough on the board.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 1, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

@jb633. The glee at England's losses is directly proportional to the flood of bombast & hubris that followed India's implosion, as English writers & commentators abandoned their staple of whining about rank-turning SC pitches, dodgy bowling actions, Aussie tactics & ANY criticism of the team's swelling ranks of Saffers, & churned out obsequious praise for the English juggernaut that would rule cricket for the next generation. Some English regulars here became smug, conceited, and boastful, their jingoism rivaled only the unending tedium of the "Tendulkar is God" brigade. Sadly, this vocal minority cannot accept that "the colonies" now routinely dominate, & a couple of England wins bring out their Barmy-Army meets-Monty-Python caricatures. These Colonel Blimps of Cricinfo-comments generate goodwill as do soccer hooligans, and, to your discomfort, are now reaping what they sowed, & have earned every gloat. If SL triumph in Colombo, the gloating will become unbearable.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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