Steve Finn gets Ashes call-up amid England crisis… despite ‘unselectable’ bowler being sent home from last tour Down Under

STEVEN FINN returns to the country where he spent the most harrowing time of his career after being named as Ben Stokes’ Ashes replacement.

Middlesex fast bowler Finn’s form and confidence plunged so dramatically in Australia four years ago that he was sent home early.

Steve Finn has earned an Ashes call up for this winter’s tour Down Under
Rex Features


Ashley Giles, then England’s one-day coach, described Finn, 28, as “not selectable” and he has struggled to lose that tag.

But 6ft 7in Finn took 8-79 for Middlesex against Lancashire days before the Ashes squad was named and England supremo Andrew Strauss believes he is close to his best.

Strauss said: “Steven is a high-quality cricketer with considerable experience of international cricket and Australian conditions.

“The selectors believe he will add to England’s options and the squad will be further supported by the arrival of the Lions in Australia in November.”

Finn’s call-up is the latest twist to a drama that is affecting planning, social occasions, weddings and has seen three players punished.

It is no exaggeration to say most members of England’s Ashes party have been affected in some way.

Finn will be asked to support Jimmy Anderson and England’s bowling attack
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Finn with now England supremo Andrew Strauss in a Test against South Africa in 2012
Finn with now England supremo Andrew Strauss in a Test against South Africa in 2012
Finn has been called up with Ben Stokes unlikely to tour
PA:Press Association

All the while, police continue to probe the involvement of Stokes in a street brawl in Bristol at 2.35am on September 25.

It is unlikely Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Jake Ball would have been punished — or even investigated — for staying out late but for the fracas involving Stokes and Alex Hales on the same night.

But the trio accepted a formal written warning and fine for unprofessional conduct after Strauss spoke to every member of the squad involved in England’s victory over West Indies in Bristol last Sunday.

Their fine of several hundred pounds goes to charity.

The number of cricketers at Jos Buttler’s stag weekend in Amsterdam was reduced as a result of the Stokes affair with the likes of Joe Root and Stuart Broad pulling out.

Finn and one-day captain Eoin Morgan were the only players to attend and, to some people’s horror but most people’s amusement, Finn was photographed tossing around a black dildo.

Few England stars turned up at this week’s PCA dinner — James Anderson was there mainly to collect his award as England’s Test player of the summer.

Others decided against going to their counties’ various end-of-season lunches, dinners and pub crawls. At least one was cancelled.

Finn was among England players on Jos Buttler’s stag do
Ian Whittaker - The Sun
The fast bowler got his hands on a dildo in Amsterdam
The fast bowler got his hands on a dildo in Amsterdam
Ian Whittaker - The Sun

Strauss, head coach Trevor Bayliss and Test captain Root will now review team discipline and security.

England players will be scrutinised more than ever in Australia.

They cannot be cooped up in their hotels for weeks but, conversely, there can be no further indiscretions. Bayliss and Root know it will be tricky finding the correct balance when it comes to off-duty behaviour.

Again, it is exacerbated by the Stokes issue. The all-rounder was last week told he will not be considered by England “until further notice” after ECB chiefs viewed The Sun’s footage of the Bristol brawl.

Finn helped England to their last Ashes series win at home in 2015
Finn helped England to their last Ashes series win at home in 2015
PA:Press Association

His formal exclusion from the start of the Ashes is the next step towards almost certainly missing the entire winter.

Stokes and Hales, also not currently being considered by England, received new central contracts yesterday and remain on full pay.

Any cricket sanctions will be applied by the Cricket Discipline Committee but they are likely to wait to see if the police press charges.

Finn has also been on the end of 1 5-0 whitewash Down Under
News Group Newspapers Ltd

Strauss is anxious not to prejudice the police investigation, adding: “We have spoken to Ben and assured him our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing police investigation or the Cricket Discipline Commission process.

“With the Ashes around the corner, it’s important to give players, coaching staff and supporters some clarity around a complex situation.”

The naming of the ODI squads for matches in Australia and New Zealand early in 2018 has been delayed . . . because of the Stokes scandal.

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