• England in New Zealand 2012-13

Fraser gives Ashes warning to Finn

ESPNcricinfo staff
February 7, 2013
Steven Finn's habit of breaking the stumps first cost him a wicket at Headingley last year © Getty Images

England fast bowler Steven Finn needs to keep striving for a solution to his costly habit of breaking the stumps with his leg in his delivery stride if he is to become the complete international fast bowler, according to the man who helped him rise to international level.

Angus Fraser, the former England seamer and now Middlesex director of cricket, acted as a mentor to Finn during his formative years and is anxious that his coaches at county and international level find an answer to the technical flaws in his action.

The problem of colliding with the stumps came to the fore again during the one-day series in India, when it cost him the wicket of Suresh Raina at a crucial stage of the fourth ODI.

Raina edged to slip but Steve Davis signalled dead-ball following a warning earlier in the series that the next time it happened the ball would not count. Davis had also been the umpire to first signal dead-ball for such an incident, during the Test against South Africa at Headingley, which again deprived Finn the wicket of Graeme Smith.

Reports from New Zealand, where England are preparing for the Twenty20 series, are that Finn is working on some small changes to his approach and delivery, which may account for his expensive performances in the warm-ups, and Fraser believes the remedial work is a painful but necessary transition.

"With his height, pace and bounce he could achieve anything and I would be surprised if he is not opening the bowling for England against Australia home and away - it is a problem that will reduce his effectiveness and which he needs to correct," Fraser told the Cricket Paper. "Taking away all the fuss and drama of him missing out on those wickets, I'm just as concerned about what makes him collide with the stumps and the effect it has on his bowling.

"When Steven hits the stumps at his end, it is because he is jumping at an angle into them in his delivery. Then to avoid running on the pitch he has to jump out to compensate.

"It will only take minor changes to correct, and time getting used to putting the feet and body in a slightly different position, but it is something he needs to work at and correct if he wants to become the complete package.

"I used to hit the stumps with my bowling hand occasionally and it hurt. Ian Botham booted all three out once, I'm told, and Mark Ealham used to flick a bail out of its groove and catch it as he went past without breaking stride. But the kink in Steve's delivery appears more acute."

Finn is now a key part of England's attack in all formats, although injury meant he was restricted to just one Test in the recent series against India. He was the most impressive of England's fast bowlers in the one-day series last month and is likely to share the new ball with his captain Stuart Broad in the Twenty20 series against New Zealand, which starts on Saturday in Auckland.

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