For many Steve Finn remains English cricket’s nearly man. But as the man himself rightly points out he’s still very much in contention.
“If you think about it, I played in the last England ODI and was on the last Test tour,” he says as he prepares to begin a new season with Middlesex and, he hopes, his country once again.
“Of course I am very much hoping to be in the England mix. This early part of the summer is a big challenge for me to show that I can do it and keep doing it regularly so I am looking forward to getting out there with Middlesex.”
And therein lies the key: consistency.
For Finn has done it before – 125 Test wickets. Five-fors against Bangladesh. Six-fors against New Zealand and Australia, twice. But for someone once tipped as the leader of his country’s next, great pace attack Finn has too often left the English cricketing public wanting more.
His and the 2016 county champions’ year begins with a tilt against Cambridge MCCU at Fenners before what could be a long season at home and abroad.
Despite his winter commitments in Bangladesh, India and the Caribbean Finn starts his season as he so often has – on the outside looking in.
Mark Wood, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett appear to have vaulted ahead in the fast bowling pecking order while the likes of Tom Curran and clubmate Tom Helm are tipped to join the queue.
But Finn, a veteran of the circuit at 27, has seen this all before.
“We have a good bunch of fast bowlers to choose from and there are some young guys who are definitely good enough to be playing international cricket,” he observes. “But it’s good for competition.”
After a winter away and, by his own admission sporting a better tan than in years past, Finn could be forgiven for looking ahead to England’s next sojourn to sunnier climes.
The tantalising spectre of a winter Ashes series Down Under looms large for all in the county game this year.
But for a man so big Finn’s ego is anything but as he attempts to stay grounded and keep his eyes on the real prize.
“If I look too far ahead it’s a bad thing so Australia isn’t on my radar,” he says. “If I start well with Middlesex then we have a county championship to retain.
“Bowling well for Middlesex is what’s going to get me in the England picture, nothing else.”
That attitude is what will shake the nearly man tag for good.