What’s the story?
Steven Finn has been named as the replacement for the injured Chris Woakes in England’s Champions Trophy squad for the remainder of the tournament. The Middlesex fast bowler could directly enter the starting lineup to face New Zealand on Tuesday.
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Chris Woakes was ruled out of the Champions Trophy after a side strain during England’s win over Bangladesh. The pacer bowled only two overs at The Oval before leaving the field after complaining of severe pain in his left side.
The news is definitely a major blow to England’s hopes of winning the trophy. Woakes has emerged as one of the most dependable bowlers for England in recent months, impressing both with the new ball as well as in the death overs.
The heart of the matter
Over the past four years, Finn’s international career has been mercurial, having opened the bowling in England’s ODI series against West Indies this winter and playing in their third ODI against South Africa recently. He thus retained his place in the side.
England were waiting for the official sign-up on Finn’s inclusion from the ICC’s event technical committee on Saturday, having submitted the relevant documents after watching the 28-year-old’s 2-49 as their Lions team beat South Africa A in Northampton. Finn has 102 wickets from 69 ODIs and had reached the no. 2 position in the world rankings back in 2012.
England will take on New Zealand on Tuesday in Cardiff, well aware that a win could help them put one foot in the semi-finals. In New Zealand’s first clash of the tournament against Australia, both the teams shared a point each in a rain-abandoned match. England, on the other hand, are high on confidence after beating Bangladesh in their opener.
England were concerned about replacing Chris Woakes’s ability with the new ball, which is why Finn becomes a befitting choice after an encouraging tour of the West Indies only 3 months ago. The 28-year old now has the chance to prove his mettle on the big platform and deliver the promise he showed as a youngster. Whether Chris Woakes’ absence from the team will be a huge blow to England’s chances will be partially decided by Finn.