Steven Finn has played just one Test against India so far    Getty Images
Steven Finn has played just one Test against India so far Getty Images

Steven Finn has had a mixed England career. He has all it takes to be a perfect fast bowler height (6′ 7″ to be exact), pace and intimidation. But somehow, he has not been able to be a permanent name in the England team sheet. The presence of James Anderson and Stuart broad certainly does not help his cause. With the emergence of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, Finn has fallen even further down in the pecking order. But Finn has showed promise right from the time he made his debut for Middlesex at the age of 16. With competition all around him, it is perhaps another good show for Middlesex in the County championship that will make him a permanent fixture in the England team. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

Early days

Finn was the youngest to play for Middlesex since Fred Titmus made his debut in 1949. He drew attention for the first time when he picked up 53 wickets for them in the County Championship in 2009. He was subsequently picked for England s tour of Bangladesh in 2009-10. He was initially called up as cover for Stuart Broad, Graham Onions and Ryan Sidebottom. Finn however found his name on the team sheet for the first Test, with Bresnan and Broad being the other seamers. He picked up just a couple of wickets on debut and four in the two-match series, but had impressed everyone with the bounce and pace he could generate. This performance was good enough for England to retain him for Bangladesh s tour of England couple of months later. He picked up two five-fors in as many Tests against Bangladesh and cemented his place in the side.

An One-Day International (ODI) debut soon followed in January 2011. But as of now, he has once again fallen down the pecking order with David Willey, Reece Topley, Liam Plunkett and Jake Ball getting the nod ahead of him. READ: Chris Woakes: England s joker in the pack

Turning point

Finn often had the habit of knocking over the stumps while completing his delivery, which forced the ICC to intervene. ICC then made a law stating that it if any bowler knocks the stumps over while bowling, it will immediately be adjudged a no-ball. Also he had made a few changes to his action, which also included an experiment with shorter run up. The 2013/14 season was the turning point in his career. He was also not deemed electable by his coach Ashley Giles. But that did not deter him from going back to the domestic circuit and picking up 48 wickets for Middlesex at 30.72. He was then picked for the Ashes 2015 at home.

England suffered a massive 405-run loss in the second Test at Lord s after winning the first Test at Cardiff by 169 runs. However for the third Test at Edgbaston, England decided to give Finn a go in place of Mark Wood. That was perhaps one of the best decisions as his performance in that Test, gave England the momentum to not only win the match but the series as well. Finn on his comeback Test recorded figures of 6 for 79 to go with 2 for 38 in the first innings as England wrapped up the match by 8 wickets in just three days. Finn finished with 12 wickets in three matches as England regained the Ashes after winning the series 3-2. Amidst all this there was belief that Finn has turned the corner and can be a serious contender for Tests in the future. In a matter of three Tests, he became undroppable from being unselectable just a year or so ago. READ: Gareth Batty: Alastair Cook s potential trump card against India

Meanwhile, his limited-overs career never really took off and his chances of returning to the team look a bit bleak as England are keen to have players, who can bat right till 11, giving them more depth. If this continues, Finn s return to the ODI setup many not happen anytime in the near future.

Chances in India

Unless Stuart Broad or Chris Woakes suffer an injury ahead of the first Test, it is highly unlikely that Finn will be a part of England s playing XI. The arrival of James Anderson ahead of the first Test is great news for England, but it makes Finn s chances of making it to the playing XI all the more tougher. He has played just one Test against India and it came at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2012. Finn finished with four wickets in that match and England went 2-1 up in the series. A draw in the fourth Test at Nagpur ensured England won the series by the same margin.

Road Ahead

Finn picked up 31 wickets in his eight County games for Middlesex, helping his side clinch the title on the final day. He has to be consistent in the Championship to be in contention for a place in the England squad. A slip up may see others take his place soon. Finn might come in handy in England, Australia, New Zealand or other places, where fast bowlers get a bit more assistance. In conditions like India, England would prefer to go in with one fast bowler, and stock their side with spinners. Stokes and Woakes will perhaps make it to the side as all-rounders. But it will be interesting to see which one drops out when Anderson is fully fit and raring to go. As far as Finn is concerned, he will not find it easy to return to England s XI.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry.com. He is a sports enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)