STEVEN Finn leapt to the defence of Middlesex’s top six and skipper Shaun Udal in the wake of defeat to Worcester this week.
The Panthers’ paceman produced two lifetime bests, 9-37 in the second innings and 14-106 in the match, but still managed to finish on the losing side as the batting crumbled twice on a deteriorating wicket at New Road.
It was an all too familiar story for the top order and also raised questions over Udal’s decision to bowl first.
But Finn claimed it was the right call and that loose bowling in the first session, including by himself, along with dropped catches, which saw the hosts 85-0 at lunch was the key to defeat.
He said: "People will say it was the wrong decision to bowl first but I don’t think it was.
"Yes the wicket did more as the game went on but we should have bowled them out for a lot less than we did first innings.
"There were a few loose spells in the first session and three or four catches went down. It should have been 60 or 70-4 instead of 85-0 in which case we’d have bowled them out for 180.
"That would have left us chasing 170 in the last innings which is about what we got.
"But the defeat hasn’t affected the good vibe we had in the team pre-season. You can’t wallow on one bad result so it’s on to Thursday against Glamorgan at Lord’s."
Defeat aside, for Finn this was the latest chapter in his ever rising credit rating over the last few months, following on from his England Lions performances in the UAE and his shock call up to the full England side in Bangladesh.
And the 21-year-old admits his experiences over the winter contributed massively to the performance of his life.
He added: "Bowling on flat wickets in Bangladesh teaches you discipline and the need to be economical and similarly the pitches in Abu Dhabi demand you are consistently accurate.
"That helped me massively at Worcester where I felt I hit my length better than I ever have. I made the batsman play at every ball and the figures reflect that.
"And I think confidence is a massive factor. When its high you feel unbeatable and like you can get anyone out.
"But those 14 wickets are forgotten now and it’s on to the next game."