Fraser advice for Finn

  • Last Updated: January 15 2014, 13:23 GMT

Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser believes Steven Finn needs to "fall back in love with bowling" after being sent home from England's tour of Australia.

Steven Finn: Sent home from Australia
Steven Finn: Sent home from Australia

Finn was the only member of England's initial Ashes squad not to feature in the 5-0 whitewash Down Under and has endured a drop in form so marked that he was selected for the ongoing one-day series.

He is now returning to England early, ending a hugely frustrating three months as far from the international side as he has been since his debut in 2010.

Middlesex have been kept appraised of Finn's progress - or lack of it - this winter and will give the 24-year-old some time off before beginning the process of restoring the paceman to his former self.

Fraser, who played 46 Tests and 42 ODIs for England, said: "We've been in communication with Steven and with (limited-overs coach) Ashley Giles and concluded that this is the best way forward.

"It's hugely frustrating for Steven because he wanted to play a major part in Australia but sometimes the harder you try the worse it gets.

"Working every day to try and win selection, with people asking where he is and what he's doing is not the ideal environment.

"We have some ideas for Steven and the plan starts with him having a couple of weeks away from cricket to empty his head.

"I think the main thing is that Steven falls back in love with bowling.

"It can become a job at times rather than the thing you dreamed about as a young cricketer - I've seen bowlers run up in tears before.

"But Steven just needs to love bowling for the sake of bowling again - not to win selection for the next ODI or the first Test of the summer. We'll work with England to get him back playing cricket and enjoying himself."

Fraser's optimistic prognosis is to be expected, but one fast bowling expert suggested the decision to cut Finn loose from the squad is symptomatic of a wider problem.

Ian Pont, a former county paceman turned fast bowling coach with the likes of Bangladesh and Dhaka Gladiators, is concerned that Finn's troubles run deeper than a mere dip in form.

Pont, who worked with a teenage Finn during a spell as national skills coach with the ECB, told Press Association Sport: "England's statement that they are sending him home for technical reasons suggests that they feel he has lost his bowling action.

"In some cases that can lead to the yips... struggling to release the ball.

"When people develop mental problems with bowling that can start with a technical flaw. It's like a dripping tap that you ignore because you think it will be fine.

"In some cases it is fine but it can also lead to a flood and then the ceiling caves in. It seems to me that Finny has caved in a little.

"My fear is where he goes next. What does the ECB do? Batsmen work all the time on technique, we see them making tweaks, but there is a hesitation to work with fast bowlers and the only action taken is when there's a complete disaster.

"After three months in Australia it's unbelievable to think as a nation we couldn't get him up to standard. Something is clearly not right and questions need to be posed about the environment around him."

Pont does not blame England's bowling coach David Saker for Finn's deterioration but does feel a new perspective may help.

"England's bowling coach David Saker has done a terrific job with the team up to now but by his own admission he's not a technical coach," he said.

"I genuinely feel sorry for Finny because he's probably had 1001 pieces of advice and he's got a headache.

"He needs a coach who understands biomechanics and can analyse what he needs to do now.

"I'm sure the ECB feel they have their bases covered but there comes a time when you shine a light and realise there might be another."


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