Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is Finn our Ashes secret weapon?

After snaring 15 wickets in two tests against Bangladesh Steven Finn is seen by many as a shoo-in for the Ashes test squad next winter.

The six foot seven inch tall Middlesex paceman appears to have all the attributes required to be a success on the hard bouncy pitches down under, and his recent impressive performances add credence to that. The cricket betting always suggested Bangladesh would be brushed aside, but he still managed to impress.

However, Finn is to be withdrawn from the international arena as quickly as he burst on it, after the ECB confirmed he is to miss the upcoming one day matches with Australia in order to undergo strength and conditioning programme, similar to the one recently undertaken by Stuart Broad.

The fact his absence denies the Aussies a close look someone who will surely be one of their opponents next winter has certainly raised a few eyebrows. However, I don't believe the ECB have deliberately taken him out of the firing line to hinder the Australian preparations for next winter. They obviously have a long-term development plan with Finn and such strengthening exercises are part of that. But the fact it is Australia who miss out on seeing his talents first hand must be seen as an added bonus.

A key weakness in England's bowling attack last time out in Australia was their failure to utilise pace and bounce. Humid, clouds covered days are not a common occurrence in the Aussie summer as they are here, so the England selectors have obviously pin pointed Broad and Finn as having the attributes required to adapt to local conditions. The Ashes cricket odds suggest England will struggle to retain the urn and a lot will rest on their bowlers if they're to cause an upset.

I think once more the media have got slightly carried away with Finns' progress - comparisons to Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose are laughable at present. But he certainly has potential and the most pleasing aspect of it is the ECB appear to know how to help him realise it.

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