Cricket

England bowler Steven Finn targets South Africa Test return

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England bowler Steven Finn believes he can return stronger from his injury lay-off and has targeted a return to the Test squad for South Africa.

Finn was ruled out of October's Test series with Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates after feeling pain in his foot when bowling in the nets, which subsequent scans revealed was a stress injury in his first metatarsal, the early signs of a fracture.

The 26-year-old spent some of his rehabilitation at Barclays Premier League club Watford, and has now joined up with England Lions in Dubai ahead of Friday's third Twenty20 against Pakistan A.

Should all go well, the Middlesex seamer could then come into the plans of England head coach Trevor Bayliss, with two warm-up matches scheduled in South Africa ahead of the first Test on Boxing Day in Durban.

In an interview with the England and Wales Cricket Board's website, Finn said: "I had a good summer, and regaining the Ashes was a massive part of my career, so it (injury) did come at a frustrating time because I felt I was just getting my teeth into being a more regular player in the Test team.

"I felt good within my bowling, I bowled nicely in that warm-up game, and I think I had a good chance of playing in the first Test (against Pakistan), b ut professional sport is full of frustrations and setbacks, and the more you experience those the more it makes you appreciate the good times.

"Hopefully I can come back stronger from it, and if I make it through these games and out to South Africa, I can be a little bit fresher when I get out there."

Finn believes he is on course for a successful return to full-blown match action. He added: "A few things were said when I wasn't in the (South Africa) squad about me being done for the tour, but I'm determined for that not to be the case.

"When you are injured you always want to get back as early as you can, but you don't want to push it to a point where you make the injury even worse, so we've been sensible.

"But I have had two-and-a-half months now of not playing cricket and I think it has come to a point now where I can start being realistic about going out to South Africa and hopefully playing a part over there.

"It is handy to be able to come out here and have a bridge between the rehab in England to hopefully going out to South Africa."

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