Finn chief beneficiary of selection policy

It looks to me as if England want Steven Finn in their Ashes squad in Australia at the end of this year.

With his height and bounce, and ability as a 21-year-old to improve still further in the six months still to go before the series in Australia begins, everything points to Finn being on the plane barring injury or a dramatic loss of form or confidence.

But building for the future while trying to win in the present produces a conflict which is never easy to manage.

I believe the England management are doing the right thing in resting Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad from the opening Test match against Bangladesh, and giving Eoin Morgan and Finn an opportunity in their places.

But, as a former England player myself, I can well understand if any of the players who are rested – and, later this summer, it might be the likes of Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen who get some time off – are not too happy about it.

From what I hear, I don’t think Broad is currently too pleased with not playing against the Bangladeshis. When you are a player, you want to play every game. You want to make the most of every opportunity you get to play for your country, and you want to cement your place in the team.

Both Collingwood and Broad, ironically, are effectively being told by the management that their places are safe and secure in the medium to long term – otherwise they would not be rested in preparation for tougher battles ahead.

But how will Broad feel if Finn gets a lot of wickets against Bangladesh? Or if Ajmal Shahzad comes in for the second Test at Old Trafford and also does well? Collingwood will also look at Jonathan Trott’s double-hundred at Lord’s and think, quite naturally, that he could have been the one scoring a big innings.

As I say, however, I can well understand why Andy Flower and the England selectors want to take a look at the likes of Morgan, Finn and possibly Shahzad too in home conditions. They also want to see a bit more evidence that they have the temperament as well as the ability to succeed at Test level.

Morgan, despite his successes at Twenty20 and 50-over international cricket, is very fortunate to be given a Test chance. But, as with Finn, I think it shows that England want him involved as much as possible at the moment as good young players who have the ability to develop far more yet.

I think both Flower, who is a very good judge and a strong character and Geoff Miller, the chairman of selectors, are doing an excellent job at the moment.

They made exactly the right selections for the ICC World Twenty20 – including the likes of Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb and Michael Yardy to complement what they already had – and they are thus growing the pool of players, and its depth in terms of quality, that is available to them. It is a sensible policy.

There are quite a number of one-day matches to be played after this short two-Test series against Bangladesh, including five one-dayers against Australia, before the main business of the summer: four Tests against Pakistan between July 29 and August 30.

That in itself is a concentrated programme of five-day cricket and in my view the England management must use that series to get the players who will actually make up the Ashes squad ready for the winter challenge Down Under.

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