Finn sad to see Strauss depart
Steven Finn bid a fond farewell to former captain Andrew Strauss but has backed England to have a bright future with Alastair Cook.
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Finn has a strong attachment to both men, first meeting Strauss as a youngster in the Middlesex nets and going on to make his Test debut under Cook's leadership in 2010.
Strauss confirmed his retirement from the game yesterday, completing the long-anticipated handover to Cook, who had already inherited the one-day job last year.
While Strauss announced his resignation to the wider world in a formal press conference at Lord's, he informed his team-mates via individual handwritten letters.
Finn, who received his after the one-day defeat by South Africa on Tuesday, said: "I suppose 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. There were some sad and disappointed people.
"He's been a massive part of my career. The first time I met him I was 14 bowling in the indoor nets just before he was going off to the West Indies for a one-day tour.
"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 backside 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."
Cook also comes with a ringing endorsement from the 23-year-old fast bowler.
England's new Test skipper took charge of the five-day team for the first team two and a half years ago when Strauss was rested for the tour of Bangladesh.
Finn was called up to the squad after impressing for the Lions and played in both Test victories as Cook made a successful start to his captaincy audition.
"Cooky was the one who told me I was making my Test debut so that always holds a great place in my heart," said Finn.
"Coming into an England team he made it very easy for a young player to settle in and just 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.
"Cooky is a similar sort of leader to Straussy. He leads from the front as an opening batsman and setting the tone is very good for a captain.
"I think the transition between the two will be smooth in that Alastair has been used to working with Andy Flower as a one-day captain. He may have his own plans and stuff he wishes to introduce to the Test team but I would imagine the fundamentals day in, day out will be very similar.
"We won't see a drastic change and I think that's good for us as a team."
Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson gave South African reaction to Strauss' departure, offering a generous tribute to 35-year-old.
"Obviously Straussy is a fantastic captain. We've always had a lot of respect for him as a player and as an individual," said Peterson.
"It came as a bit of a shock but I'm sure he has his reasons. Maybe he wants to explore other avenues of his life and we wish him all the best.
"He was always someone who led from the front, put himself out there for England and he took the team to the number one ranking, which speaks volumes for him as a person as much as a cricketer.
"He's had a lot of challenges and he has responded to them."
One of the most recent, and most difficult challenges was the handling of the Kevin Pietersen saga.
Pietersen is currently exiled from the England set-up after a number of issues this summer and will play no part in the ongoing NatWest Series, which continues at the Kia Oval tomorrow with the third one-day international.
Peterson admits the tourists are glad not to be facing the destructive batsman.
"Any player with his ability will be missed in any team around the world so he is missed in their line-up," said Peterson.
"I'm sure they have their reasons for him not playing and they are obviously dealing with some issues they need to take care of.
"But Kevin is a quality player and thank goodness we don't have to play against him."