Steven Finn is on target to rejoin the Test party for England’s winter tour of South Africa after a spell under the watchful eye of Watford’s medical staff accelerated his return from a foot injury.
Finn is in Dubai with the England Performance Programme and has been given the nod to play for England Lions in one of the Twenty20 matches against Pakistan A in the next two days. The towering quick bowler flew home during the first Test with Pakistan in the UAE in October after sustaining a stress injury to his left foot in the nets in Abu Dhabi.
The Langleybury Cricket Club member returned to his home in Maida Vale and, once he was off crutches and out of the protective boot, it was decided by the ECB medical staff that the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough was too far for someone with a foot problem to travel. Lord’s, we are told, has ultra sound equipment, a physio couch and a separate gym. Middlesex players are taken to the nearby Wellington Hospital for more serious complaints.
Watford, on the other hand, have some of the latest medical equipment so the ECB asked chief executive Scott Duxbury if Finn could make the short trip up the M1 and round the M25 to use the anti gravity treadmill, undergo therapy and use the upgraded gym facility.
He spent several days at UCL in London Colney in the build-up to the Manchester United game under the expert eye of Richard Collinge, the club’s head of medical, and his team.
“It’s been nice to build it up from just cycling and stuff indoors and using the rehab facilities at Watford to start running outdoors on grass, to a point where I’m bowling off my full run and having no pain in my foot,” said Finn in an interview with the ECB. “So it feels good at the moment and hopefully the added intensity of the games is another step for me. It’s handy to be able to come out here and have a bridge between the rehab in England to hopefully going out to South Africa, and it’s a good test of skill as well, to be able to flip between the formats and come out here and play Twenty20 games where you want to do yourself justice.”
A lifelong fan since attending the 6-3 Second Division win over Grimsby in 1996, Finn has got to know Troy Deeney as their respective careers have blossomed.
“He’s been doing his stuff after us,” said Deeney last month on Finn’s time at the training ground. “I having’t seen him but I’m sure he’s banged his head ducking through the doors. He’s a good guy and I imagine he’s just trying to stay out of the way.”