How much longer will England tolerate Steven Finn knocking down stumps as he bowls, causing a call of dead ball and the umpire refusing to give a batsman out. It is time Finn cut out this unnecessary fault.
The row that blew up after umpire Steve Davis ruled Raina not out and caused Alastair Cook the England captain to see red bounced 5,000 miles to London where an MCC spokesman admitted there was a grey area in that law and promised a review.
If the wicket had stood England might have won the match and — super optimists will say — the series.
It is the second time Finn has cost England a wicket, his record of stump realignment must be in double figures and it is no use quarrelling with the umpires. Finn must be made to sort out his run-up.
There is no doubt Finn is a valuable asset. He is only 23 but he has shown his worth already. His 70 Test wickets are a touch expensive at 28.22, but 45 One-Day International victims at 27.53 is good and 20 Twenty20 wickets at 16.10 is excellent.
Still he should ask himself how often the great fast bowlers — Dennis Lillee, Curtly Ambrose, Allan Donald, Fred Trueman or Richard Hadlee — banged into the stumps.
I got to know Hadlee well at one time and had a lot of time for his meticulous preparation, his work ethic and his determination to practise.
He would have discarded his Kiwi accent rather than sacrifice a wicket by his own carelessness; Trueman would have reached into his pocket and bought many a round of drinks rather than kicked over the stumps.
Oh, yes, I know they had to clear dinosaurs from the pitch before they could play in Trueman’s time but no bowlers in his day ran into the stumps twice.
Bill Bowes, 6ft 6in of Yorkshire fast bowler, played county cricket two years before Trueman was born but early in his career he tore muscles the length of his body trying to bowl too fast before he was warm. “The coaches had a meeting straight away and came up with a solution that has stood Yorkshire in good stead for 50 years,” he once told me.
“Every time we began a spell of bowling we ran up as a practice without the ball just to make sure it did not happen again.” That preparation has ceased now; more’s the pity.
I hope that the specialist coaches who now need their own bus to travel from hotel to airport will come up with a similar solution to the Finn problem and I will be interested to see how MCC reshape the law. It ought to be called Finn’s Law since the issue does not appear to concern any other bowler in the world at the moment.
England has been given a good hiding in the one-day series this month but it is not all Finn’s fault. If only Eoin Morgan was more consistent and Ian Bell produced more runs.
Next England selectors have to work out where they will get the best results from Joe Root. I find it difficult to understand the hesitation about recognising his value. Did you ever see a calmer batsman at 22? He is 14 if you look at his face; 44 if you watch him play.
Yet England pushed him around the batting order, clearly unable to decide where he is most effective. I wonder if, in the fifth and final one-day match, it will have the courage to ask him to open the innings. He and Cook might be ideal.
Keywords: Steven Finn