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Meet Cricket's Best Emerging Player

Last updated on: October 25, 2010 10:37 IST

Meet Cricket's Best Emerging Player



Bikash Mohapatra traces the meteoric rise of the ICC's 'Best Emerging Player'.

He had just four wickets to his credit in his first two Tests when England toured Bangladesh in March this year, a wicket in each of the four innings he bowled.

But the effort was good enough for England's selectors to give him a second chance.

Drafted into the England squad for the return series two months later, he made it to the final eleven for the opening Test.

- Also read: Will Ponting's career end with two regrets?

On May 27, England took on Bangladesh at Lord's. It was a moment Steven Finn had been waiting for.

While it is every cricketer's dream to play at the Mecca of cricket, for young Finn it was extra special. It was, after all, his home ground.

And he grabbed the opportunity that came his way.

Four wickets in the first innings were followed up by a five-wicket haul in the second, as England thrashed Bangladesh by eight wickets.

Image: Steven Finn
Photographs: Reuters

'To play at Lord's was a dream'

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A nine-wicket haul on his Lord's debut meant a perfect realization of a dream.

"The debut at Lord's was fabulous," recalled Finn, adding, "It had been a dream of mine since it is my home ground. 

"I play for Middlesex. So to take so many wickets there on my debut was special."

Finn carried on with a good work.

A fiver in the next Test at Old Trafford meant he finished the series with 15 wickets, enough to earn him the man-of-the-series honours.

Another 13 wickets in the following four-match series against Pakistan meant Finn had 32 wickets (@ 23.21) in what had been an incredible summer.

- Also read: 'I bring certain freshness to England captaincy' 

And that was enough to convince the jury to name him the Best Emerging Player in the recent ICC awards at Bangalore. Something the 21-year-old hadn't expected.

"It is a great honour," admitted Finn, before elaborating on what he felt was the biggest honour of them all.

"To have played for England in Tests," he said, without a moment's hesitation," adding, "Test cricket is the toughest one can play, and the highest level." 

Image: Steven Finn

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'We are confident of winning the Ashes'

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His performance in his first eight Tests was good enough to help him book a berth in England's Ashes-bound squad.

For the first time in years England is probably going into an Ashes series as the favourites on the back of their 2-1 win in the previous series as also the fact that Australia have not been in the best of form off late.

But the man who played a crucial role in England's last two triumphs, Andrew Flintoff, would be missing on this occasion.

"Freddie is a huge talent and he will definitely be missed," admitted Finn, before quickly naming Australia as the favourites, considering the series is being played Down Under.

Also read: Andrew Flintoff interview

"We are the underdogs going into the series," he explained, adding, "At the same time we are a very settled side."

The youngster was careful in his choice of words but didn't mince them when it came to his country's chances.

"Obviously, we may lose it as well," he said, before quickly adding, "But we are well-prepared and confident of winning it."

If England is to win their first Ashes on Australian soil in 23 years, they would need the 6'8" Finn to be at his best, reproducing the form he displayed this summer.

Image: Steven Finn

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