Steven Finn, the paceman, has been ruled out of England’s entire Ashes tour of Australia with a knee injury, team officials said on Tuesday (November 7). Tom Curran, the Surrey pacer, has been called up as replacement.
Finn, who missed the opening tour match in Perth last weekend, had scans which revealed a torn left knee cartilage.
The Middlesex seamer sustained the injury during practice last week in Perth and will now return home, where he will consult a specialist to see whether he needs an operation. While Finn is expected to fly back in the next 48 hours, Curran has been told to join the squad in Australia on Wednesday.
Curran, 22, has played three Twenty20 Internationals and a One-Day International for England in his short career so far. Against South Africa on T20I debut earlier this summer, Curran bagged three wickets in Taunton. He was handed the ODI cap against West Indies in England’s final ODI of the summer at the Ageas Bowl.
It ends another miserable tour to Australia for Finn, who left the previous 2013-14 trip under a cloud when Ashley Giles, the coach, declared him “unselectable”.
Finn only made the current tour when he was added to the squad in place of the suspended Ben Stokes.
“When you’re a late call-up to the squad and have been out of selection for the past six months or so, you definitely do have a point to prove,” Finn said last week before the injury.
Trevor Bayliss, the coach, told reporters on Tuesday: “He had an injection a couple of days ago which they thought would help.”
Moeen Ali, the allrounder, remains unavailable for England’s second tour game in Adelaide, missing the chance to prepare for the day-night Ashes Test in the city.
Bayliss said Moeen would sit out the four-dayer under lights against a Cricket Australia XI, starting on Wednesday.
“Mo Ali is more precautionary now, we will just leave him out of this one and make sure he’s right,” said Bayliss, adding that he was uncertain over one batting spot and another fast bowling option for the first Test starting in Brisbane on November 23.
“We have probably got a batting spot to finalise and probably a fourth pace position, so there’s a little bit of competition from within which is good,” Bayliss said.
England have one further four-day warm-up game in Townsville from November 15 before the first Test.
Bayliss said the team was focused on becoming familiar with the day-night conditions and playing with a pink ball ahead of the second Test at Adelaide Oval. England have only played one day-night Test, which they lost against Windies last August.
“We have got this (Adelaide) game to see what happens with the pink ball and for our guys to experience it with a view obviously to that (day-night) second Test,” Bayliss said. “If the ball moves around a little bit more, that is what we like to see more of.
“Our batters are more used to playing on wickets that do a bit more sideways and obviously the bowlers bowling on it as well, more so than the Australian guys.”
Ryan Harris, the former Australian fast bowler and current coach of the CA XI team, said he wants to send the visiting side to Brisbane low on confidence and with as little insight as possible into batting against the pink ball.
“I know going into these sort of tours your warm-up games can set the tone for the tour, you don’t want to lose. Our job is to make it as tough as we can,” Harris told reporters.
Harris said he wants to reduce batting opportunities for England during the twilight period that has proven prohibitive for batsmen.
“We are not here to make it easy for England,” he said. “When it gets to dusk the grass almost seems to sit up and it zips around. It can be tough to bat around that time. That is where we will make it as hard as we can for England. Hopefully they are not batting around that time, that is my plan.”