x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Steven Finn warns: Do not write England off on India tour

Steven Finn says people are wrong to count out England on their upcoming trip to India, and Kevin Pietersen will not be joining the team for practices in Dubai.

Kevin Pietersen will not be joining England in Dubai for practices prior to the India tour and instead will meet the team in India at the tour's start.
Kevin Pietersen will not be joining England in Dubai for practices prior to the India tour and instead will meet the team in India at the tour's start.

 

Steven Finn arrived in Dubai with the England squad for a three-day training camp uncertain whether he will be involved in the first Test against India at Ahmedabad next month.

But the Middlesex paceman was certain that England have the X-factor required to end their 27-year wait for a Test series victory in India.

"People are writing us off already but write us off at your peril. We like rearing our backs up in the face of adversity," Finn said.

England are not known for their capabilities to handle spin, especially in the subcontinent conditions, and will be aided by the comeback of the maverick Kevin Pietersen back into the Test squad.

Pietersen made a half-century for Delhi Daredevils to signal his strength of form in the semi-finals of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.

However, hopes of the experienced batsman - famous for his switch-hit stroke - helping out his England teammates in Dubai, when taking on the Indian spinners, faded when he messaged his itinerary on Twitter.

"The journey to India begins now … Durban-Johannesburg-London-Mumbai …" wrote Pietersen.

An earlier tweet saw him apologising to the Daredevils fans before adding, " … On a positive note-I'll be in India Sunday … Can't wait!"

Speaking to reporters in London, Alistair Cook, the captain, welcomed Pietersen's arrival after the player got involved in a text message scandal, saying: "For me as captain, this is the best possible outcome because we have a world-class player back in our team. … I want him to come back in the side and score match-winning runs like he has in the past."

It has been a difficult 10 months since the downfall of England as the world No 1 Test team which, ironically, started in Dubai when they lost to Pakistan 3-0. Andrew Strauss, the captain then, has since retired. But Finn saw the poor history as a comparison to the last Ashes series, when England retained the trophy and ascended to the top in rankings.

"I don't think an England team have won out there [in India] for 27 years so we're looking to do a similar thing to what we did in Australia in 2010/11, by breaking those sort of records," he said.

England won a three-Test series against India last year but were thrashed 5-0 in the following one-day series, a pattern on this tour, as well.

"We have the pain from the one-day series we lost there last year and we have the good experience of beating them in 2011," Finn said. "I think a combination of the two should spur us on to win this series. I think we have the players and the mindset to do that. It is almost a fresh start for us. The Test team hasn't played together since August so we've had a bit of time and we've got a new captain who will have his own ideas how he wants the team to move forward."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE