• India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata

Cook faces difficult Finn decision

ESPN staff
December 4, 2012
Alastair Cook was not giving away any selection clues © PA Photos

England captain Alastair Cook has confirmed that fast bowler Steven Finn is fully fit for the third Test against India, but refused to reveal whether he would be selected for the contest.

Finn has been unavailable for the opening two Tests of the series after picking up a thigh injury in the first warm-up match of the tour.

He has been tipped to replace allrounder Stuart Broad - who has disappointed, particularly with the ball, so far in the series - for the contest in Kolkata, but Cook would only acknowledge that he and selectors faced a difficult decision.

"On Steven Finn's injury, it's great he's now fully fit. He adds competition to the squad, he's a fine bowler and it's great to have him available for selection," Cook said. "It's disappointing he's missed two games but it's great that he's back and we've got some tough selection meetings ahead of us.

"But as a captain and as a coach, that's what you want. You want people pushing for places."

The series to date has been dominated by spin - with Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann combining to produce an emphatic victory in Mumbai to level the series at 1-1 - but Finn's pace and bounce could provide an additional weapon.

"He's got a little bit more pace than the other guys and he bowled well here on the sub-continent in the one-dayers," Cook said.

Cook admitted that Broad has struggled so far in the series, but suggested that circumstances had played a part in the recent dip in form - while past displays may ensure the Nottinghamshire man is given a stay of execution.

"It's been tough for him," Cook said. "He's been unlucky, he hasn't been fully fit either - he's had illnesses and things. He's had a tough couple of games but I'm very glad he's English and part of this squad. He's had some fantastic performances over the past year."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.