Bumble's Blog: 'sensational' Steve Finn not here for the ride
England will be reluctant to change winning team but seamer is perfect for bouncy pitch...
Last Updated: 08/08/14 11:26am
I spent a fantastic day with the England players at training yesterday and this afternoon I’m off to drive a tram.
I’m heading down to the depot, which is right outside Old Trafford on Warwick Road South, to do some filming to help promote the Test.
I’ve been on the footplate of a steam engine before but this will be very different. In my youth I was a train-spotter and used to take my bicycle on the train and go for a week’s spotting. I’m a big fan of the Princess Royal Class.
I used to have my own train set in the attic complete with lights on the trains. I had some terrific engines but they’ve gone now. I don’t know where they are.
I was filming for over four hours yesterday as we had ‘access all areas’ to England’s full-on practice session; we got some fantastic stuff from the players.
Peter Moores ran the show and there was none of this ‘it’s all private, it’s behind closed doors’. Watch it in our build-up to the Test - it will be a great insight.
Jos Buttler did a full session of wicket-keeping up to the stumps; I stood in a first slip position with a microphone on so I was talking as if I was at a snooker match; like ‘whispering’ Ted Lowe, I was.
Alastair Cook was sat on a roller waiting to bat and asked me how I was so I just went and sat with him and chatted until his turn came, which was a while!
Ian Bell and Gary Ballance were batting and batting and eventually he shouted over ‘is there any danger? I’m captain here – I’m supposed to get a knock!’
It was very funny – I’ve never seen that side of the bloke or had a conversation with him but he’s absolutely bang on. He said ‘I’m going to give them a clue here, I’m going to put my helmet on’.
At one point Steven Finn was there bowling on his own. I watched him mark out his run up with a tape and can tell you it’s 24 metres, 80 centimetres.
He runs to that mark, which I was standing on so I was absolutely in line, and he steamed in and flippin’ thundered it down. I thought he looked sensational.
England will be reluctant to change their team and I think there’s every chance that they might play the same XI but I will say that, judging by the session I saw, Finn isn’t there just to add to the squad and make the numbers up.
I watched the pitch ‘inspector’ yesterday as he was monitoring how much moisture and bounce there is in the pitch. I’d say this looks to be the bounciest pitch around - the ball was bouncing chest high – and it will be hard and quick-ish too.
It’s definitely got more grass on it than I’m usually used to at Old Trafford. Peter Marron was the groundsman here for years and he tended not to have grass on the pitch but Matt Merchant who is there now prefers a pitch with grass on. It will be hard. It’s a bat-first pitch.
I also chatted with Paul Farbrace about the session and it’s fair to say that nothing really has changed from what we would have done back in the 90s two days before a Test.
You have a chat and a warm-up, then there’s a 40-minute fielding session in which the players move around four stations: high catching, flat catching, slip catching, reactions – returning to the wicketkeeper each time.
Then it’s off to the nets – bowlers having run-throughs off their full runs and the batters bat in pairs.
The only difference is they’ve all got dog-throwers these days and they can see immediately on a computer what they’ve just done, whereas we didn’t have any of that in the 90s. If anybody wants it, they can do a bit of extra at the end, too.
Predictably I made the papers this week for my comments on the Jimmy Anderson- Ravindra Jadeja ‘episode’ and there have been that many tweets about it.
As I said in my blog last week, let it go, the players will sort it out between them. It’s not your business any more than it is mine. We seem to live in this land of litigation. It’s nonsense.
So many players have spats in their careers only to finish up best of mates. Leave them to it. You don’t need judges or lawyers involved.
We don’t have superstars in Manchester – United and City footballers can walk anywhere they want; there’s nobody bothered. Liam Gallagher can wander around and no-one bats an eye.
Not long ago there was a fantastic picture of United’s ‘Class of 92’ just walking down Deansgate!
It’s a different culture in India, I understand that. The top players can’t go out because they are mega superstars back home but not here they’re not!
The Manchester public will protect their own – they’ll protect Anderson, and that’s quite right.
Get on with the game.