England in Australia 2013-14

Finn returns home to rebuild career

Andrew McGlashan

January 15, 2014

Comments: 127 | Text size: A | A

Hands up who wants to play some one-day cricket? Steven Finn takes part in a stretching exercise, Melbourne, January 11, 2014
Steven Finn has had a tour to forget in Australia © Getty Images

Steven Finn will fly home from the tour of Australia after the England management conceded that his form and confidence have deserted him to such an extent that he is now not a viable selection option.

Ashley Giles, the limited-overs coach, believes he now needs a complete break from cricket for a period of time before trying to get his career back on track.

He was originally named in both the one-day and Twenty20 squads but doubts persisted as to whether he would be able to resurrect his tour. He did not play the opening ODI in Melbourne and the writing was on the wall when he was left out of the Prime Minister's XI match in Canberra.

"Sometimes through your career you go through those ups and downs and his timing is out," Giles said. "That then can affect your confidence and certainly it is not coming out as quickly as he would like either.

"I suppose he has been in this state for at least a couple of months and it hasn't worked. We feel now that it is best to take him out of it. Sometimes you do have to do that, you take guys back. At the moment Steven needs a bit of space in the very short term he probably needs a couple of weeks away from cricket full stop. Steven is not selectable at the moment.'

"The issue for the coaches is to find the root of the problem. Something technical in the chain is out of sync. He has technical issues and the more troublesome they become, the worse the battle. It is going to affect you mentally."

Suggestions that Finn has the yips - the dreaded psychological affliction which prevents somebody from releasing the ball to any normal standard - has been dismissed by Angus Fraser, Middlesex's director of cricket, as an exaggeration. Fraser simply wants him to rise above the pressure of expectation and rediscover his love for the game.

Nevertheless, Finn's troubles have run deep. When he was named in the Ashes squad Finn was one of the quartet of tall fast bowlers England planned to play a key role in the Test series. Ultimately Finn did not appear in the series and was not really close to selection after a poor warm-up period. His last appearance came in the tour match in Alice Springs when he took 0 for 61.

Fraser urges Finn to fall in love again

  • Angus Fraser, who has overseen Steven Finn's rise through the ranks as director of cricket at Middlesex, has urged the fast bowler to fall in love with bowling again.
  • "Sometimes the harder you try the worse it gets," said Fraser, a stalwart for England during his 46 Tests. "Working every day to try and win selection, with people asking where he is and what he's doing is not the ideal environment. We have some ideas for Steven and the plan starts with him having a couple of weeks away from cricket to empty his head."
  • Fraser has dismissed suggestions that Finn has the yips, saying the theory goes too far. "I think the main thing is that Steven falls back in love with bowling. It can become a job at times rather than the thing you dreamed about as a young cricketer - I've seen bowlers run up in tears before.
  • "Steven just needs to love bowling for the sake of bowling again - not to win selection for the next ODI or the first Test of the summer. We'll work with England to get him back playing cricket and enjoying himself."

He appeared far from comfortable during England's training session two days out from the one-day series starting in Melbourne, resorting to walking through his bowling action alongside Alastair Cook.

This continues a difficult time for Finn, who lost his Test place after the opening match against Australia at Trent Bridge in July although he continued to feature in the T20 and one-day line-ups at the end of the season. In 2012 his problem of knocking the stumps over with his right knee became so regular that a Law was introduced to make it a no-ball and this was subsequently followed by attempts to remodel him onto a shorter run-up which was eventually shelved for a return to his standard approach.

Finn has been named in England's provisional 30-man squad for the World Twenty20, but unless there are significant improvements in the weeks to come when he returns home it is difficult to see him being included for the tournament. The selectors may well decide the best course of action is not to consider him again until he has had a chance to play some county cricket at the start of the new season in April.

England will be desperate that Finn can recover from the setbacks of this tour because, on his day, he remains one of the few English bowlers capable of pushing towards 90mph.

"He can go back and work on the technical things he has got to work on,'' Giles said. We've already had communication with Middlesex and we need to make a plan and get Steven back as quickly as we can.''

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Harmony111 on (January 16, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

I would want not to blindly blame this on Flower's style but it is indeed quite singular that the Eng team is suddenly showing signs of heavy psychological stress. Re-modelling of action is not a new idea, many many bowlers have gone through that in the past & came back much better. Bhajji himself got through that under Fred Titmus and became much better. But there is a certain way of doing it.

Troot's problem might have been due to his personal issues but Swann's sudden retirement & Finn's loss of everything give some signs of poor directorship by the director Flower.

I was hugely impressed by Finn when I first saw him and even today I maintain he is more talented than Cummins. With all the needless noise over KP's place, I wonder what the morale of the Eng camp is right now.

Eng are not all that bad as this 0-5 but they are not going to improve and give their combined best with these kind of news coming out every 2 days.

Posted by zenboomerang on (January 16, 2014, 4:06 GMT)

@disco_bob - Gloating is correct but you say "satisfaction that England are getting what they deserve" - what do they deserve & why? The loss of so many top players from the Eng team very much weakens any wins we have had & I'd rather a 3/2 result any day to a whitewash. Also I call some comms as trolls because they have no interesting point other than to put down other teams & fans, which is not the reason most of us post here for - it is just a game after all & I treat it as a game...

"You guys [Eng]" - lol - considering I can trace my history back 50,000 years through my grandmother from the NT I would find it difficult to support any other nation than Oz... Also I have posted here for many years so you newbies can take note!...

Posted by   on (January 15, 2014, 21:43 GMT)

First_Drop speaks the truth, but misses the point that DJRNZ nails. Trott, Swann and Finn all on the plane home, yet physically fit? Does rampant and oppressive micromanagement of talented young men destroy their enthusiasm and desire to play their natural game? England used to be badly managed by amateurs, now they are badly managed by professionals.

Posted by android_user on (January 15, 2014, 21:26 GMT)

I can't see Finn playing again ! The English coaches have ruined him. They should now pay his salary untill he's hit retirement age !

Posted by Chris_P on (January 15, 2014, 20:28 GMT)

As an Aussie supporter I can breathe a little easier for this guy could be anything, but, as a cricket enthusiast it's a shame it has come to this. He has a unique talent, that should be appreciated by cricket enthusiasts, (unless he is laying against you!). I hope he comes back, he is good for cricket, also seems like a good bloke off the field as well.

Posted by AnanRam on (January 15, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

Triumph of mediocrity. This is the bane of England. Finn and Tremlett have far superior Test stats than Broad and Anderson. They are faster and have more bounce.

But what do England do? Rather than nurture them, they select Bresnan, a medium pacer, and Stokes, who did not make any crucial breaks but picked up some cheap wickets.

The same way they mishandled Pietersen and have nearly destroyed him.

England is all about conformity and uniformity. This leads to mediocrity.

Posted by jb633 on (January 15, 2014, 16:54 GMT)

@First_drop, even as an ardern Englishman I agree entirely with your point. Lets not pretend that side was rubbish like many are doing but certainly they have never been a great side, just a pretty good one.

Posted by Madpashcrickers on (January 15, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

Steve Finn is simply too talented to be sidelined for very long - as soon as he has shaken out the yips he'll be back firing at 90 mph+ and picking up hatfuls of test and first class wickets.

Anyone can get the yips at any time in any sport and at any level, even Cookie has got the batting yips at present - missing straight balls and fencing at wide ones, his batting head is nowhere.

Interestingly since Ben Stokes came in, England can now see the value of having at least one seamer who is quick and hostile and has a high strike rate even if that seamer is giving away 4 or 5 an over. You are never going to beat the top test sides by all your seamers bowling 'dry' but hardly taking a wicket, you need to bowl people out.

This much should have evident to England when Kallis and Amla gave us an absolute masterclass in test batting in 2012, they could bat all day against the likes of Broad and Anderson without a trace of anxiety.

Posted by DJRNZ on (January 15, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

Three English players to leave a tour of Aussie now. Surely this is something to do with the managment or how over the top they are with support staff etc. Prob just too much to take day in day out, takes the fun out of the game.

Posted by jb633 on (January 15, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

I wish now I could bring up my posts from last summer and the last ashes re Finn. Why is anyone surprised the boy has lost his head. Why did our management feel the need to criticise him to the media and display his weaknesses to the world. During the last ashes he was dropped because he was too expensive. I have no issue with the decision but why did the selectors have to go public and announce to everyone he must tighten up. Surely they could have had a quiet word with the lad behind closed doors. When did you ever hear Alex Fergurson publicly criticise an individual (never). Look at the way Dhoni has protected Ishant Sharma from the public by always defending him and deflecting the blame. There is no wonder Finn has gone to pieces with the dreadful man management he has been encountered with.

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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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