Middlesex and England bowler is enjoying his cricket again
Middlesex seamer Steven Finn says he is “in a very happy place” after taking four-wicket hauls in successive matches for the Lord’s side.
Finn returned to the Middlesex fold after being left out of England’s final XI for the first Ashes Test against Australia and promptly steamrollered Essex to set up his side’s first NatWest T20 Blast victory in eight games.
Having returned figures of 4-28 at Richmond, the 26-year-old paceman carried that form into Middlesex’s County Championship clash against Somerset at Old Merchant Taylor’s School, where he took 4-41 before the rain-affected match finished in a draw.
“I feel in good rhythm. All I can do is to keep that rhythm and keep bowling well,” said Finn. “To get a few wickets is nice and hopefully I can continue that.
“I’m in a very happy place with my cricket at the moment – I’m enjoying it and generally feel like I’m bowling well. Last summer I was fighting myself a little bit to try and force myself to enjoy it.
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“This year I’ve just been able to relax and it seems to be working ok. There’s a good feel about the team and we’ve been playing good cricket, especially in four-dayers.
“When we’ve won, we’ve won well and on the one occasion we were beaten, it was a close game. Last year we see-sawed, but that hasn’t happened this time and I think that’s a really good sign for us moving forward.”
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Finn’s good form – ensuring he retained his place in the England squad for the second Test, which gets under way on Thursday at Lord’s – has enabled Middlesex to rotate their pace options to a certain degree.
Leading wicket-taker James Harris was rested for the start of the Somerset match following a purple patch that has earned him more than 50 victims in the County Championship this season.
And Finn, who has reaped the benefits of a more instinctive approach to bowling during the last year or so, is delighted to see his Middlesex team-mate doing the same.
“I think he’s gone back to bowling as naturally as he possibly can, as he used to when he was younger, and there’s a lot to be said for that,” Finn added.
“I’ve had my issues in the past with not bowling as naturally as I could and it cost me, so to see James coming through, just running up and bowling and enjoying it, has been fantastic.
“To take 50 Championship wickets after only 10 games is testament to the work he’s put in over the winter and hopefully there’s a few more left in him this season.
“It wasn’t like he was bowling terribly before, but I don’t think he was enjoying it as much and this summer he seems to be really enjoying his cricket again.”
Finn’s performance against Essex laid the foundations for a six-wicket success – although that came too late to rescue Middlesex’s hopes of progressing to the T20 knockout stages.
The Lord’s side have three South group fixtures remaining – a return meeting with the Eagles at Chelmsford on Friday (7pm) before they conclude their campaign next week against Surrey and Somerset.
“We’ve faltered a bit in this Twenty20 tournament but we can’t let that affect us,” Finn observed. “We haven’t won the tight games and we’ve been blown away in a couple of others.
“It has been disappointing, especially with the squad we have – and I know we say that every year, but we have to find a way of getting more out of ourselves.
“Hopefully we can get on a bit of a run during these last few games and make sure we remember that next summer when the tournament comes round again.”