Steven Finn believes he brings a lot of experience to the table
And the backdrop against which this tournament will resume, with Australia facing Bangladesh a stone’s throw from the scene of Saturday night’s horrific attacks, could not offer starker perspective.
But Steven Finn insisted yesterday that cricket must remain “defiant” and he is determined to play his part for the remainder of this Champions Trohpy campaign, starting in Cardiff tomorrow.
The fast bowler, 28, travelled to Wales yesterday after getting the nod ahead of fellow Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones. The news followed confirmation over the weekend that Woakes would play no further part in the tournament.
And on arrival Finn said he is not expecting simply to be carrying drinks over the course of the next two weeks. He expects to be able to force his way into the side for the match against New Zealand at Sophia Gardens tomorrow.
Steven Finn will step in for the injured Chris Woake
We have got a really well balanced squad and hopefully my personal attributes can bring something to that
Asked what he brings to the table apart from his undeniably sunny demeanour and his close friendships with most of this squad, Finn maintained height, menace and most importantly wickets.
“I’ve got a good record in one-day cricket,” he said. “I am slightly taller than the other guys and can therefore get a bit more bounce. I’ve played a lot of ODIs. There is experience there.
“We have got a really well balanced squad and hopefully my personal attributes can bring something to that.
“Taking wickets is always something I try to do. I never take a backward step and try to be negative or defensive. Trying to take wickets is the mantra we have tried to adopt as a one-day bowling side and I can help that.”
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Finn, who took five wickets in two matches for England Lions against South Africa A last week to pip his Middlesex team-mate, is by no means a like-for-like replacement for Woakes. His style and angles of attack would be a challenge to Jake Ball more than anyone.
In fact, despite Finn spending 18 months out of the one-day set-up between September 2015 and March this year, the performance of Ball at The Oval against Bangladesh, where his 1-82 was the third time in his last seven ODIs that he has cost more than 80 runs, was a concern for England. So much so that it gives Finn a good chance of playing against New Zealand if he can impress in the nets today.
“I have no pre-conceived perceptions about what is going to happen,” said the bowler. “I am just going to attack these two training days as much as I can. If I get the call beyond that then I will try my best for my country.”
Finn brings with him the experience of 102 ODIs but has more than his share of bad memories of England’s previous 50-overs failures. At the last World Cup in 2015 few will forget Brendon McCullum dismantling the Middlesex man, smashing his two overs for 49 runs as the Kiwis beat England by eight wickets with over 37 overs spare.
Finn was also part of the squad for the 2013 Champions Trophy, playing just one match against South Africa in the semi-final.
“We got close in 2013 playing some excellent cricket,” he said. “We got undone in the final in a rain-reduced game. Here we are looking to go one better. Everyone’s energy is focused in trying to win this tournament and hopefully we can do that.
“We expect from New Zealand an aggressive, hostile brand of cricket, which is great for the spectator and great to be involved in. You have to be prepared for everything.
“We go into every game trying to win it and we go into the New Zealand game trying to play the same brand, with the same mindset as we have done in the last couple of years.”