England v West Indies preview

Date published: Thursday 21st June 2012 5:53

After spending the majority of his young career on the fringes of the England set-up, Finn has been the major beneficiary of the selectors’ desire to rest their star names in the past month.

The 23-year-old was drafted in for the final Test of the already-won Investec series against West Indies at Edgbaston and, with England again in an unassailable position in the one-dayers, he is set to be given a more prominent role in Friday’s third and final game at Headingley.

With Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan being given time to put their feet up, Finn is set to lead an otherwise inexperienced attack alongside Jimmy Anderson.

It is a scenario the right-armer admits will ensure there is more pressure on his shoulders but one he feels is important in his development as an international player.

“Having those two other senior players missing gives me an opportunity to be an even more senior player within the group,” he said.

“It’s an exciting experience – any experience I get of being a senior player is great.

“Yes pressure comes with that but pressure is something I enjoy.

“I feel like I’m getting better at dealing with that and other pressures on the pitch and as you get more experienced at international cricket and the more experiences you are exposed to you become better.

“Hopefully you can keep improving.”

As one of the main beneficiaries of the much-debated rotation policy – which has provided call-ups for young seamers Stuart Meaker and Chris Woakes in Leeds – it is understandable that Finn is an advocate of it.

While detractors of the concept debate that the paying public are being short-changed by under-strength teams, Finn believes the policy is not only logical in a busy schedule but also an investment in the future of English cricket.

“The more exposure we get at an early age the better we are going to be in the future,” he said.

“We’ve got young players coming through who need to gain international experience at international level, me one of those included.

“It is more of an investment in the future with the rest of those guys also able to prolong their careers and play in the more important games.

“It also gives the young guys the opportunity to come through and make the most of it.

“It’s important that any logical opportunity for a rest for the senior players should be taken.”

While Finn has been stuck on the fringes in Tests he has started to establish himself in England’s one-day team playing in all six games this year and claiming 15 wickets – almost double the number of his nearest team-mate – at an average of 14.07.

Seven of those wickets have come in the powerplays and his early breakthroughs have prove important in helping England claim a perfect record in 50-over cricket in 2012.

“I have opened the bowling for a little while in the one-day team; throughout the winter and into this season it’s something that I am enjoying doing. I’m enjoying the responsibility,” he said.

“It is quite an important role in a one-day team and I feel a lot better and good for doing that.

“One of our big emphasises is to take wickets early and opening the bowling it’s my job to do that

“I feel as though I’ve been bowling well.”

Despite his limited overs form Finn has won just three Test caps since he was dropped during the successful Ashes campaign in Australia 18 months ago.

While dislodging the likes of Anderson, Broad and Bresnan are problematic while the Test team continue to sit at the top of the world rankings, Finn is hoping to use the shorter format to ensure he is top of the list should the need arise.

“I’ve played all the one-day games since last summer, since the Cardiff one-dayer against India. I want to become an established member in the team in all formats,” he said.

“The Tests are the things that I want to get back into the most. It’s great to be playing one-day cricket for England.”

Persistent rain in Leeds today meant that both sets of players were forced to train indoors while the covers remained on the Headingley wicket.

While the forecast for on Friday is equally as gloomy should play begin there could be some early assistance for the likes of Finn, who admitted he had already considered the prospect.

“If it dries up it is going to be perfect for seam bowling. That suits me,” he said.

“There’s a chance it might do something if the covers come off tomorrow. We’ll be looking to exploit that if we get the chance.”

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England v West Indies preview

Date published: Wednesday 6th June 2012 3:50

Captain Darren Sammy confirmed, between the downpours in Birmingham on Wednesday afternoon, that Narine is likely to be selected as the Windies bid to avoid a 3-0 Investec series whitewash.

Expectations are great of the impact the 24-year-old may make at the highest level, thanks to his exploits so far in just a handful of first-class matches and in the high-profile Indian Premier League.

It is hard to recall a potential Test debutant – save perhaps England’s Kevin Pietersen, and before him Graeme Hick – being the subject of quite the hype which surrounds Narine.

His ability to complement conventional off-spin with a disguised delivery which turns away from the right-hander make him an enticing prospect for all but the batsmen who must face him.

England, meanwhile, can hardly profess confidence about handling Narine after their hapless performances against Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal – a bowler of similar ilk, albeit in very different conditions – in the United Arab Emirates last winter.

“He has got every chance of playing,” Sammy said of Narine, absent from the first two Tests but shipped in following his IPL stint for Kolkata as injuries mounted for the Windies.

“Everyone is calling him the mystery spinner, and he could come in and make an impact for us.

“It’s a difficult place for spinners to make their debut. But he has a lot up his sleeve, and we’re backing him to make an impact.

“He has five-wicket hauls in seven or so first-class games he has played this year and he is a good inclusion in the squad for us.

“We hope this is the start of something that could be a great Test career.”

Sammy himself remembers dealing with the threat of Narine on a personal level, when the pair met in domestic cricket.

“He opened the bowling, and he got 10 wickets in the match. But I got 88 in that match as well,” he said.

“He’s very exciting, and all of the Caribbean are very excited about having him in international cricket.

“We’re very happy to have him here.”

The Windies, losers by five wickets at Lord’s and then nine at Trent Bridge last week, are considering deploying Narine in a five-man attack – reasoning they can take a chance on Marlon Samuels continuing his outstanding form with the bat.

“Marlon is doing a very good job for us at number six,” added Sammy.

“We have considered playing five bowlers – but we will see what happens tomorrow.”

Whatever the fine-tuning, the bottom line for the tourists is that they need greater resilience if they are to properly test the world number one team at last.

“We need to compete longer,” said the captain.

“If you look at Test matches for the last year and a half, we have a bad hour or session that takes us out of the game.

“We play four-day cricket at home, and sometimes they finish in two and a half or three days. So I guess our concentration span is not as long.”

Forecast rain on Thursday may indeed make for a shorter contest, and Sammy senses another favourable factor for his team in the absence of rested fast bowler James Anderson from the opposition ranks.

“So far it has been very tough on the top order, so we hope that is a psychological edge for our openers not having to face Jimmy,” he said.

“But we’re coming up against a strong attack – and as a batting group, we have to handle that.”

England are expected to make just the one change to their side, with Steven Finn replacing the rested Anderson.

England (from): AJ Strauss (capt), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, JM Bairstow, MJ Prior (wkt), TT Bresnan, GP Swann, ST Finn, G Onions, SCJ Broad, SM Davies.

West Indies (from): DJG Sammy (capt), AB Barath, KOA Powell, DM Bravo, S Chanderpaul, MN Samuels, N Deonarine, D Ramdin (wkt), SP Narine, FH Edwards, R Rampaul, TL Best, S Shillingford, KA Edwards, AB Fudadin.

Umpires: K Dharmasena (Sri) and T Hill (Nzl).

Third umpire: A Dar (Pak).

Match referee: R Mahanama (Sri).

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