Finn untroubled by being Australia's sledging target

The England seamer Steven Finn insists he will be able to deal with the inevitable sledging which will come his way if he makes his Ashes debut in November. Finn is expected to form a key part of the England attack despite having played only eight Tests for his country since being called up to the squad to tour Bangladesh at the start of the year.

Sledging is always a prominent feature in an Ashes series and Shane Watson recently revealed that Australia have singled out the 21-year-old as a target as they bid to wrestle back the urn which they lost at the Oval last year. The Australia opener claimed that Finn's inexperience would make him easily susceptible to the pressure, but the Middlesex man is confident he can cast that aside to concentrate on helping England win their first Ashes series Down Under since 1987.

"I won't be bothered by it. I'll just shrug it off," Finn said. "I don't know if there will be a lot of sledging. I haven't played in an Ashes series before but if there is I'll just concentrate on putting the ball on a good length and keeping my focus on that regardless of whatever they say."

After making his debut in Chittagong in March, Finn went on to establish himself as a regular in Andrew Strauss's side by putting in a string of impressive performances in the home series against the Tigers, where his 15 wickets in two Tests earned him the man of the series award.

He went on to take 19 wickets at an average of just under 23 against Pakistan before being left out of the ODI squad in order to undergo a programme of "strength and conditioning" ahead of this winter's gruelling schedule.

Big things are expected of the Watford-born quick bowler but he is not fazed by what awaits him, and instead sees this winter as an opportunity to realise a childhood dream of playing against England's most bitter rivals.

"I am confident enough to deal with the pressure if I get picked," said Finn. "I'm confident that, no matter who it is that is put in front of me, I will be able to do the same processes that will end up in the same result – that is, me being successful.

"I am thoroughly looking forward to the Ashes. It's the greatest series that an England cricketer can ever take part in. I just can't wait for it to get started now. It means a lot to play against them. I grew up watching Ashes series when I was younger and there were a lot of people who I looked up to throughout my career."

Finn was not even born when Mike Gatting last led England to an Ashes win in Australia in 1987. Recent victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh, coupled with last year's Ashes win, make Finn confident that England can upset the odds and beat Ricky Ponting's side this winter, however.

"Of course we can win it. There's no point in us going out there unless we think we can," he said. "We're on a roll at the moment."

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