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• Captain returned home from Bangladesh for birth of his child
• Cook set to rejoin England squad before Thursday’s first Test
Steven Finn believes that Alastair Cook will not be hindered by a lack of match practice on the subcontinent when the England captain rejoins the squad just days before the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong.
Cook travelled out to Bangladesh early to acclimatise to the conditions during England’s one-day series win against the Tigers before departing for home to attend the birth of his second child.
It is anticipated he will return in time for the opening day of the first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Thursday but he has missed England’s two warm-up fixtures.
Cook, though, has a fine record in Asia with an average above 60, with eight hundreds, the first of which came on his Test debut in India 10 years ago following a last‑minute dash from the Caribbean.
Finn said: “I think you’d be a bit worried if it was someone who was less experienced, I suppose, and hadn’t experienced these conditions before and spent time in the middle because that’s important.
“The young guys who have spent time in the middle in these two games and through the one-day series will gain a lot of confidence and a good understanding of their gameplan in these situations and these conditions. [With] the amount of cricket that Cooky’s played in the subcontinent, I think he’ll fit back in seamlessly.”
Finn was England’s most economical bowler on the first day of England’s last warm-up before the Test series, conceding only 24 runs from his 10 overs, and was unlucky not to take a wicket against a BCB XI. While he played three of the four Tests in England’s last series against Pakistan over the summer, he was below his best and acknowledged he is not an automatic selection any longer.
England could experiment with three seamers and three spinners for the opening Test and Finn thinks Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes are ahead of him.
“I do enjoy bowling in the subcontinent. I enjoy the reverse-swing aspect of it, I enjoy the fact that you have to put in to get something out of the wicket,” he said. “I think I’ve got a relatively good record in the subcontinent, so I just wanted to come and put my hand up. Realistically, I’m probably outside of those top three seamers at the moment because of the way Woakes, Broad and Stokes have bowled in the summer. I think that my job, like anyone on the fringe of the squad, is just to keep pushing and keep trying to put your hand up to get in the team.”
England finished at the midway point of their two-day practice match on two without loss after the BCB XI collapsed from 207 for two to 294 all out, with the Surrey spinner Zafar Ansari finishing as the pick of the bowlers with four for 68.
Broad and Gareth Batty took two wickets apiece, giving England’s batsmen the chance to push their case for inclusion in the Test series on Monday.
Finn said: “I think everyone’s in good order going into the first Test match and if we get a good day’s batting under our belts, we’ll be really well equipped to go and win this Test.”