IF PERFORMANCES within Ashes series go some way to defining Test careers then rejuvenated England seamer Steven Finn will be relieved to have started healing scars from his last brush with Australia.
In 2011, Finn usurped Sir Ian Botham to become the youngest Englishman to reach the milestone of 50 Test wickets, while his two scalps yesterday in ripping through the Australian middle-order took his overall tally to 92, in this his 24th match.
But prior to his call-up to the third Investec Ashes clash at Edgbaston, the 26-year-old had been in the Test match wilderness for two years having been dropped in the wake of the opening clash of the 2013 series at Trent Bridge.
More poignantly, Finn was an unused member of England’s disastrous 2013-14 series in Australia and was banished from the tour before its conclusion after being deemed “not selectable”. Robbed of form and confidence, a long road to redemption beckoned.
“I was trying desperately hard. I have this obsessive character where if I’m not doing something quite right I will bust myself until I do get it right and that was the case in Australia,” Finn told City A.M. “I was going to the nets every day and bowling for an hour at a time into an empty net, just trying to feel the rhythm off the end of my fingertips but I couldn’t quite get it.
“I came home and went back to the drawing board technically and since then it seems to have been an upward curve. It wasn’t a pleasant time, but everybody goes through technical issues during their career.
“Unfortunately that happened against Australia and in an Ashes series, but I certainly feel I’m through the other side of that now and only look forward. I don’t look back.”
Not all of Finn’s Ashes experiences have flattered to deceive. Before being replaced for the final two Tests of the series, he played a key role in the early stages of England’s successful bid to retain the urn in 2010-11.
“Sitting in the dressing room at the end of the game having won at Adelaide, having a couple of beers together and celebrating the win, that’s the sort of thing that you live for. Those are the moments you cherish,” added Finn.
“An Ashes series is the pinnacle of what you can play in and what you can achieve as an England cricketer. It tends to shape the way people think of you. Hopefully we can create a few more of those moments this summer.”