Steve Finn

‘Still capable of doing a job for England’ – Steve Finn

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Steve Finn, the England paceman, has put the injuries behind and is gearing up for the county season, but is realistic about the prospect of playing in the Ashes: “I'm not expecting a phone call off Ed Smith any time soon.”

Over the last 18 months, Finn has been hampered by a knee problem. He needed multiple surgeries to sort the issue, during which a benign tumour was removed. He’s back now, looking as fast as ever in the nets ahead of Middlesex’s county campaign, but one of the most highly-touted England players turned 30 on Thursday, 4 April, and the increasing feeling is that time is running out for Finn to realise all that potential.

He has 125 wickets in 36 Tests, and last played one for England in 2016, against Bangladesh in Dhaka. It’s been a tricky journey since then, but ahead of a new domestic season, Finn is realistic about playing for England.

Steve Finn is back after multiple knee surgeries
Steve Finn is back after multiple knee surgeries

"I'm feeling like that [the Ashes] is not really on my mind at the moment," Finn told Sky Sports. "I have just come back from two knee surgeries. I got dropped before I got injured, so I can't feel hard done by at all. It's sport, you have to be quite philosophical about it; people get injured.

“I have great passion to play for England, I'd love to do so again – but it's going to take a lot of good performances for Middlesex in the meantime to be able to do that. I'm not expecting a phone call off Ed Smith any time soon.”

That said, England hosting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 has pushed the home Ashes a wee bit – it starts on 1 August in Birmingham, and that is enough time to work in performances and regain the eye of the selectors.

"There's going to have been lots of cricket played by the time the Ashes come 'round," Finn told ESPNCricinfo. "It's such a big series that I think it will be a horses-for-courses selection, with whoever's doing the best at the time in with a chance.

"If I put my focus on that, I think that's a bad thing, but I certainly think I'm capable of doing a job for England, as I have done in the past. It's my ultimate goal because I love representing England. Getting that buzz, and being in that environment for your country is something I'm very passionate about still.

"But there's a little bridge to cross until we get to that stage. And that first one, is this week against Northamptonshire."

Breaking into that England set-up, however, will be a task, simply given the fact that Jimmy Anderson isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, even at 36. "I feel like we've been talking about this for last three or four years, and they [Anderson and Stuart Broad] just keep going and going," he said. "With his action and the way that he's done it so far, Jimmy could keep playing for England until he's about 45, he could have 1000 Test wickets by then.

"Those guys have been outstanding servants and whoever has to fill those boots it's going to be a very tough job to do. I'd love to play for England again. I look at myself in the mirror and if I wasn't motivated to do that, then I'd question what I'm doing, especially at the age that I am.

"But I'll just keep hoping that my knee feels good as the season goes on, and that hopefully I'm building up a head of steam by the end of it."

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Pos Team P NRR Pts
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2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
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2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2

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