Steven Finn is eager for a piece of the action again as England continue their quest to win a Test series in India for the first time in almost 28 years.
Finn experienced what it was like to be on the outside looking in at a winning team when, in his absence as he continued his recovery from a thigh strain, England pulled off a famously unexpected success in Mumbai.
He did not much care for it either, nursing mixed feelings while his team-mates beat India by ten wickets to level the four-match series at 1-1 – and he could only watch on television.
Words of encouragement immediately followed, however, from bowling coach David Saker – who believes Finn may have the “x-factor” England need to help them make history in the final two Tests, starting at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens tomorrow. The fast bowler duly demonstrated his well-being for the Performance Programme, an hour’s drive away from England’s hotel on the other side of Mumbai last week, taking four wickets in a wide-margin win over the DY Patil Academy.
Finn was back in the nets yesterday, and afterwards confirmed he will be ready if England decide - to pick him, instead of off-colour vice-captain Stuart Broad, as one of just two frontline seamers in the third Test. He admits he feared his tour might be over prematurely after suffering a setback in his recovery between the first and second Tests – but now Finn is raring to go for what would be his 17th cap.
“It was difficult knowing that the lads were there in Mumbai, celebrating a win and being together, and I was on the other side (of the city) watching it on the TV,” he said. “I’m definitely keen to get in on the act.”
Saker’s praise has done no harm either, with Finn adding: “It’s encouraging for your bowling coach to be saying that about you. I know that when I’ve bowled on the trip so far I have bowled well. I’ve been in good rhythm; I had a good run-out in the EPP game the other day.”
He could not have said the same two weeks ago, after failing to prove his fitness in time for the first Test and then having a second scan on his injured right leg – which suggested a more serious strain than had initially been detected. “I suppose there were a few doubts in my mind, especially after I pulled up before the second Test in pain,” Finn said. “There was a time that it crossed my mind that I might be leaving early.
“Thankfully we’ve got very good medical staff, and I had four or five days where I did absolutely nothing – and I haven’t really felt it since.”