Ashes 2013: England cannot carry Steven Finn, says Mark Butcher

Last Updated: 16/07/13 9:03am

Mark Butcher told Sky Sports News that England could drop Steven Finn in order to reduce James Anderson's workload.

Anderson lit-up Trent Bridge with a fast-bowling master-class, taking match figures of 10-158, as the hosts secured a nail-biting 15-run win over Australia on Sunday in the first Ashes Test of the summer.

Finn, however, endured a frustrating five days, plucking just two wickets from a total of 25 overs after winning a selection battle with fellow pacemen Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions.

And former England batsman Butcher thinks England may axe the Middlesex man for his home Test match at Lord's, which begins on Thursday, if he is unable to perform as an admirable foil to Anderson, who bowled 55.5 overs in Nottingham.

"Anderson bowled virtually all of [Stuart] Broad's overs in the first innings and because Finn hardly bowled in the second he had a heavy workload," said Butcher.

"That would not often be a problem for a fast bowler as fit as him, but it is with the Tests coming one after another and little things can build up and a big injury can come along - so England will have to look very carefully at Finn.

"Can [Alastair] Cook trust him in a tight situation in a Test match going forward? The evidence at Trent Bridge was that he can't and if that is the case they may have to look at changing him.

"It won't be disastrous if Finn plays at Lord's - and as it is his home ground it weighs in his favour - but if Anderson breaks down and England don't go 2-0 up in the series it will be disastrous as they rely on him so heavily."


Butcher says he would have picked Yorkshire's Bresnan - who has taken 57 wickets in his 18 Tests - ahead of Finn for the Trent Bridge clash following his exploits in the warm-up contest with Essex at Chelmsford.

And the ex-Surrey stalwart says the England hierarchy won't shy away from being ruthless if they feel Bresnan will pose more of a threat at Lord's than his 24-year-old team-mate.

"I was a little surprised that Finn got the nod over Bresnan [for the first Test]," said Butcher, who scored a memorable 173 not out to help England defeat Australia in an Ashes encounter at Headingley in 2001.

"Bresnan looked to have his old spark back with the ball against Essex and made a hundred with the bat, but Finn hasn't looked full of confidence this summer and his pace hasn't been up on a regular basis.

"He has always been a little wayward in terms of control but England don't mind that as long as he is picking up wickets and bowling testing deliveries - but on a slow, sluggish surface at Trent Bridge he didn't really bowl any testing deliveries.

"So don't be surprised if England make a brutal call, because if they have another Test like the one at Trent Bridge - good weather and a belting pitch for batting - you can't afford to have someone in your four-man bowling attack not pulling his weight."