No cricketer has had such a chastening experience at this World Cup, at any World Cup, in few matches anywhere of any kind, as Steve Finn. He spoke yesterday of what it was like to be struck for 49 runs in 12 balls, as he was in England’s Pool A match against New Zealand a week ago.
Six of the balls went for six, all hit by the whirring blade of Brendon McCullum, the last four in succession before Finn was removed from the attack, moments before the European Court of Human Rights was in touch.
“It’s not like it hasn’t happened before,” Finn said. “He came at me at Eden Park in a Twenty20 match and I got him caught over point’s head. When you’re bowling and it’s disappearing over your head for six it’s not a nice feeling, you feel like a wally when you’re out there, but it happened and it’s in the past now.
“But it’s never happened to me before like that,” he added. “Usually if I try something, it works. But it didn’t that day. It was one of those days and I’m obviously very disappointed, gutted and embarrassed about the way it did happen. It will happen again. Someone will come that hard at us again but we’ll have to find a way of dealing with it.”
If this was not quite an unburdening of the soul ahead of England’s fourth pool match on Sunday, against Sri Lanka, it was a small insight into how it is for players under the pump. It was impossible to avoid feeling compassion for Finn that night, particularly as he had been summoned to replace Stuart Broad, who had gone for 18 in his first over.
This chat with Finn took a rather different form than the last in New Zealand about his bowling two years ago. Then he was in his pomp and much of the talk was about whether he could bowl at 100mph.
“Always an exaggeration,” he said. A few months later his run-up was a mess and he could barely let the ball go. He was eventually sent home from the Australia tour last year because he was “not selectable”. Rebuilding of action and morale were necessary. Whatever happened last Friday, he feels back to where he was.
“I feel normal,” he said. “I’ve felt normal all the time but the amount of wickets I’ve taken over here has helped get that confidence back. Everything feels fine. It feels as though everything is going the way it was for me a couple of years ago and that’s good.”
Maybe he was convincing himself as much as his audience but Finn has taken eight wickets in this tournament, only three behind Tim Southee of New Zealand. That has always been the key to Finn: he is a taker of wickets with balls good and bad.
It is a knack likely to be needed back at the Cake Tin stadium in Wellington on Sunday. England are trying to put behind them the woes of the first week but only victory against Sri Lanka will continue the healing process.Reuse content