Finch: I’m a better bowler now than when I was a pro

JAMES Finch admits that the chances of him getting a contract with a first-class county again are receding by the day.

Finch, who was arguably man-of-the-match in Suffolk’s hard-fought Minor Counties Championship victory over Buckinghamshire, spent three years on the staff at Yorkshire and regularly played in the 2nd XI.

The confident 22-year-old, who took six wickets in the match and top-scored with a hard-hit 79 in Suffolk’s second innings in their 31-run success at Ipswich School, was released mid-way through the 2009 season.

He then spent six months playing in New Zealand before joining Suffolk last season, after his name was circulated to all the Minor Counties. He chose to join Suffolk after being contacted by Kevin Brooks, the county’s former director of cricket.

“My initial reason for dropping down to play Minor Counties cricket was to put myself in the shop window with a view to getting picked up by a professional county again.

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“I already knew Hassan Adnan and Tom Huggins and joining Suffolk felt like the right move for me. I wanted to play where I could express myself, rather than fit into a mould where it is hard to show your own character.”

Finch, who undertakes a 400-mile round trip to play in the county’s home matches, continued: “Suffolk have given me a free reign to be my own person, and I really enjoy playing for the county, which has a good structure and support from sponsors.

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“When I was first released by Yorkshire I had a burning desire to get back into the professional game. I still feel I could offer something, especially in the one-day game, but it is now two years since I was released and no-one is asking questions about me.

“My chances of returning to the professional game seem to be getting thinner and thinner by the day. I would still love to play at that level again, but I won’t lose any sleep over it if I don’t.

“My whole attitude has changed since I was at Yorkshire. I had been with the county since I was 11 years old, but when you become a professional cricketer there is a lot of pressure on you to perform.

“In the three years I played professionally it became a job, whereas both prior to that and now I play cricket to enjoy it. I also feel I am 100 per cent a better bowler now than two years ago – I don’t now put pressure on myself to succeed.”

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