Finn believes England can really excel under the leadership of Cook
With England Test captain Andrew Strauss announcing his retirement last week, there were growing concerns over how his opening partner Alastair Cook was going to handle the captaincy, but pace bowler Steven Finn has put those worries to rest.
Finn is an example of the growing number of young talent that has started to claim spots all over the national team roster.
Currently aged 23, Finn has already developed into one of the most lethal quick bowlers England have in their bowling attack, and if that is not enough, Finn is also on track to become one of the best fast bowlers the country has ever produced if he continues playing the way he does.
Finn, along with many of the other young upcoming talents like Jonny Bairstow and James Taylor, realise that while Cook have may a different personality compared to Strauss, his goals and policies remain the same.
Finn actually made his Test cricket debut under the captaincy of Cook after being called into the side for the Test series against Bangladesh in early 2010.
However, the young pace bowler has known Strauss for a while now, and has even played alongside him for Middlesex during the county season.
“The first time I met him was when I was 14, I was bowling in the indoor nets just before he was going off to the West Indies for a one-day tour, I think. I jagged one down to him, he ducked under it and fell over. I remember the coach shouting from the back of the net, ‘You just got put on your arse by a 14-year-old!’ That was the first time I ever met him. It was quite a surreal scenario: a 14-year-old bowling to an England player and eventually being in the same team as him,” Finn said.
But, Finn noted that Cook really helped him get accustomed to the difficulties of international cricket.
“But Cook was the one who told me I was making my Test debut, so that always holds a great place in my heart. He made it very easy for a young player to come into an England team and just settle in, go about my business. That was the first experience I had of being in an England dressing-room and Alastair was excellent at welcoming me in and making me feel like one of the boys. I think the transition between the two will be smooth. Alastair has been used to working with Andy Flower as one-day captain. Alastair may have his own plans to introduce to the Test team but I would imagine the fundamentals will be very similar. We won’t see a drastic change and I think that’s good for us as a team,” Finn added.
Finn, like many of Strauss’ other team-mates, was only informed about Strauss’ decision to retire when receiving a letter from him.
“It was a surprise, there were some shocked faces in the dressing room when we were told. Obviously it’s a disappointing time when somebody who has been so great and inspirational for us as a team and a sport steps down from their position. Yes, there were some sad and disappointed people.’ He’s been a massive part of my career. It’s been great to have him there at first slip when he’s come back to Middlesex and to have him there to bounce ideas off and talk about different scenarios has been fantastic. He didn’t want to be influenced by other people. That’s part of the reason he didn’t talk to the players before his decision. The letter just said he’d had a great time leading us and has been very proud leading us. We’ve been very proud to have him as our captain,” Finn said.
With Alastair Cook now leading both the ODI and Test teams, Finn expects England to still be as dominant as ever.
“But Cooky is a similar sort of leader to Straussy. He leads from the front as an opening batsman. He goes out and sets the tone, which is very good for a captain. He’s grown into his role as a one-day captain and we’ve played quite aggressive cricket, especially with the way we’ve attacked people with ball and bat. I have a slip quite a lot when I’m bowling, which you don’t always see in ODI cricket. That can only bode well for the future,” Finn added.
England are now searching for an opening batsman to accompany Cook in the middle, and when Finn, who has played a lot of county cricket throughout his career, was asked about who he thinks the leading candidates could be, he said Nick Compton, who has had an outstanding season for Somerset, and Michael Carberry, who experienced a brief taste of Test cricket with Finn in 2010.
“There are some excellent guys out there, Nick Compton has had an excellent season, Michael Carberry has played international cricket as an opening batsman in Bangladesh. We made our debut together. So there are definitely guys out there are more than capable of coming in and playing Test cricket,” Finn said.