Steven Finn is out to prove a point once more in Abu Dhabi – where he first showed himself to be an England fast bowler of the future.
Finn was an uncapped 20-year-old in February 2010 when he took 2-25 in his four overs as England Lions beat the national seniors in a last-ball Twenty20 finish at the Zayed Stadium.
Barely a month later, after a raft of injuries to first-choice seamers, he made his Test debut in Bangladesh and much of what Finn has done in the intervening two years has helped to establish his standing as a coming force in international cricket.
When the 6ft 8ins seamer returns to the scene of that Lions triumph tomorrow, it will be as a member of the full England squad – taking on the second string for the first time since – as they prepare for the four-match one-day international series against Pakistan.
This time, therefore, Finn will be hoping to impress over 50 overs to try to book his place in a team badly needing to fare much better against Pakistan than they did in the 3-0 Test series whitewash which concluded in Dubai on Monday.
The significance of the occasion, venue and cast list is not lost on Finn – who recalls that the Lions’ victory, just a week under two years ago, proved a launchpad not just for him, but for ICC World Twenty20 winners Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb.
“Friday’s game is going to be important for everyone, on either of the two sides,” he said.
“If you look at Kieswetter and Lumb playing against the England team over here two years ago, soon afterwards they were opening the batting in the Twenty20 World Cup.
“For myself, I played in that game and, less than a month later, I was playing Test cricket.
“There’s a great opportunity for people on both sides to push for places in every format of the game.”
Finn has endured a frustrating five weeks so far in the United Arab Emirates, carrying the drinks in a Test series which saw his fellow bowlers perform well but to no avail as batting collapses saw world No 1 England humbled by Pakistan.
But he senses a chance for him, and others, to prove to coach Andy Flower that they may just be the right people to take England forward here and in the months and years to come.
Finn has 12 Test caps to date, but just one since being substituted midway through last winter’s Ashes glory in Australia.
He returned to demonstrate his potential in an otherwise deeply-disappointing 5-0 ODI thrashing for England in India in October, which prefaced the Asian troubles so evident against Pakistan.
“Andy Flower and the management team are looking for people’s attitudes; they’re looking for things other than just performances and games like this are a great opportunity for people on both sides to show everything they can give,” he said.
The frustration has been substantial for the bowler, having to watch from the sidelines as England have faltered over the past month.
“I’m getting very good at mixing drinks for the boys. I’ve sort of got used to it over the last 12 months,” he said.
“But it’s not the sort of thing you enjoy getting used to.
“Obviously, I want to play every game of cricket that’s available for England.
“I hope, moving towards this one-day series, I’m going to get an opportunity to show what I can do.”
Finn can hardly point to the failings of those who bowled instead of him – because Stuart Broad, James Anderson and spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann did their best to keep England in contention.
But he can cite his own most recent ODI performances, eight wickets in those five defeats last autumn a far from unflattering statistic.
“The bowlers did a fantastic job during this Test series,” he said.
“Obviously I wanted to play every game. I was disappointed that I didn’t.
“But I just have to keep my head down in the nets, keep trying to show I’m ready to play.
“Then, when I get my next opportunity, I hope I’ll be able to take it.
“After the India series, I’ve got confidence in the way I bowled – and I hope I can bring that forward into this series.”
Unlike others, perhaps, Finn is unscarred by events here to date.
“India is probably by far the hardest place to tour,” he said.
“So we can take confidence that, having lost 5-0, we can learn from our experiences out there. It’s important in cricket you do that quickly otherwise, you’ll be elbowed out the door.
“That 5-0 in India was obviously a hard thing to take, and we’ll be trying very, very hard to try to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again.”