Steven Finn: Bazball England can learn from Kevin Pietersen’s success in India

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Steven Finn believes the current England side can learn from the way Kevin Pietersen dismantled the Indian bowling attack in Mumbai during their last series victory there in 2012-13

Winning in India is a rare feat. No team since England’s historic victory 11 years ago have won a Test series there. Finn describes touring there as the hardest place to go, even more so than the hostile environment of an Ashes series down under.

In 2012-13, England, led by Sir Alastair Cook, lost the first Test match by nine wickets, but bounced back to win the second and third, before holding on to a draw in the final one to win the series.

In the second Test, Pietersen struck a masterful and match-winning 186 from just 233 deliveries at a strike rate of 79.82, not just taking the attack to India, but almost batting them out of the match.

England stormed to a 10-wicket victory on route to their historic series win, coincidentally it was also the last time India have lost a series at home. Cook also scored a century in that match, but in his trademark fashion it was slower as he amassed 122 from 270.

Steven Finn was part of England’s successful 2012-13 side (PA Archive)
Steven Finn was part of England’s successful 2012-13 side (PA Archive)

When asked what the current England team can take from the 2012 success, Finn, who was a part of that series, said: “I think the way Kevin Pietersen batted when he got his 150 in Mumbai was super aggressive.

“He was sweeping, reverse-sweeping and I don’t think those Indian spinners would have been attacked like that before, especially in their own conditions. You never know what that does to a bowler.

“It doesn’t matter how good you are, your mindset can change and especially that innings that Kevin Pietersen played in Mumbai, that is what we felt like we had really broken them in that series.

“Cook ground them down and then Pietersen came out and played this knock and everyone was like ‘oh my word, we’re going to win this series’, that was the moment we all realised.

“I think England can take some of the motivation from the way that affected the way India played and try to take that into this series, but it has to be a measured aggression. If you go 100 percent aggression from the beginning, I think you can become unstuck, but if you give yourself a chance and then assert pressure back on India that could serve England well.”

Under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, England have always had an answer to the critics. Few thought they would manage to secure a maiden overseas victory in the difficult conditions in Pakistan, but they stormed to a 3-0 victory, and came back from 2-0 down to secure in a draw in the Ashes series last year.

India might be their toughest challenge so far, but the series, which starts on 25 January, is hard to predict.

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