Finn focused on England-Ireland battle

England's Steven Finn and Tim Murtagh of Ireland, pictured in an Irish bar in London ahead of the Ro

England's Steven Finn and Tim Murtagh of Ireland, pictured in an Irish bar in London ahead of the Royal London ODI matches between the two nations - Credit: Archant

Middlesex seamer hopes to impress during Royal London ODI series

Middlesex’s Steve Finn believes he must use the upcoming Royal London One-Day International Series with Ireland to prove himself after being left out of England’s Champions Trophy squad.

Ireland visit English shores to play two ODIs in the country for the first time, heading to Lord’s on Sunday after opening their tour with a match on Friday in Bristol.

England’s attentions will then turn to the Champions Trophy, featuring the best eight countries in the world this summer – a competition Eoin Morgan’s side have yet to win.

They’re set to do so without Finn however, with the pace bowler missing out on the 15-man squad for the tournament as well as the ODI series against South Africa.

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But with IPL absences for Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, Finn looks set to get a chance against Ireland, a series set for more meaning than most for the Middlesex seamer, determined to throw his hat back into the ring for a home international competition.

“I was disappointed not to be in that squad, but these games will be a good opportunity to show what I can do and prove that, if there is an opportunity for me to be a part of a squad, then I’m still very much there and capable,” said Finn at the launch of the series.

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“It’s gutting, you get that sense of disappointment inside yourself because you’re desperate to be in every squad that’s picked. I’m not someone who’s had to miss out on squads too often so it is tricky.

“But from there you make a plan, you work out how you deal with it and that fuels the fire, gives you motivation to go and work on stuff to get better to make sure you’re in the squad for next time.

“I feel good in myself, I’ve hit the ground running with Middlesex and felt good every time I have played.

“I feel technically good and that I’ve bowled with good pace and bounce in games which is important for me, they are my main attributes and if I can maintain that through the year then I’ll get my rewards at some point in the summer.”

If Finn is among those feeling the opportunity from this double-header, then Ireland will be feeling it tenfold with a chance of growth to come following games with their neighbours.

The two nations faced two years ago in a washed-out contest, but it’s in 2011 where memories are richest, when Ireland shocked Andrew Strauss’ side in the group stage of the Cricket World Cup.

The progression may have not come to fruition since, but Finn is adamant this week will be no walk in the park for his side.

He added: “We’ve had some good battles with Ireland, certainly since I’ve been playing cricket with England, so to have these two games close together is really exciting for us as a team.

“Hopefully there’s a good chance that the crowds will be quite boisterous and quite big, and we’re all really looking forward to playing in front of that.

“There’s always been that rivalry and this is another level above that, playing against each other here for the first time on England shores which I think will make a difference.

“This will be a stern test but hopefully it can kick-start our summer.”

Despite a resurgence in white-ball cricket since 2015, England’s limited-overs success throughout history remains limited to one Twenty20 World Cup in 2010.

Finn therefore feels an opportunity to write those wrongs could be on the horizon for England, with an explosive batting line-up set to look favourably on home conditions come the Champions Trophy.

“There are teams out there that are very strong, your Indias, South Africas and Australias for example that are strong wherever they play in the world,” he added.

“White-ball cricket is genuinely played on flat wickets, but I think this year is a good opportunity to really assert ourselves on a world tournament.

“The guys really did that in the World T20 in India and this is another chance on home soil, in conditions we’re familiar with in terms of temperature and pitch dimensions, and hopefully with a home crowd supporting us will be a great place for the guys to be.”

*Steven Finn and Tim Murtagh were speaking on behalf of Royal London, proud sponsors of One Day cricket, ahead of the upcoming ODI matches against Ireland.

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