Steven Finn bid a fond farewell to former captain Andrew Strauss today but has backed England to have a bright future with Alastair Cook.
Finn has a strong attachment to both men, first meeting Strauss as a youngster in the Middlesex nets and going on to make his Test debut under Cook's leadership in 2010.
The 23-year-old paceman said: "I suppose it was a surprise. There were some shocked faces in the dressing room when we were told. Obviously it's a disappointing time when somebody who has been so great and inspirational for us as a team and a sport steps down from their position. There were some sad and disappointed people."
He added: "He's been a massive part of my career. The first time I met him I was 14 bowling in the indoor nets just before he was going off to the West Indies for a one-day tour.
"I jagged one down to him, he ducked under it and fell over. I remember the coach shouting from the back of the net 'you just got put on your backside by a 14-year-old!'.
"That was the first time I ever met him. It was quite a surreal scenario, a 14-year-old bowling to an England player and eventually being in the same team as him."
Cook also comes with a ringing endorsement from the 23-year-old fast bowler.
England's new Test skipper took charge of the five-day team for the first time two and a half years ago when Strauss was rested for the tour of Bangladesh.
Finn was called up to the squad after impressing for the Lions and played in both Test victories as Cook made a successful start to his captaincy audition.
"Cooky was the one who told me I was making my Test debut so that always holds a great place in my heart," said Finn. "Coming into an England team he made it very easy for a young player to settle in and just go about my business. That was the first experience I had of being in an England dressing room and Alastair was excellent at welcoming me in and making me feel like one of the boys."
- Alastair Cook
- Andrew Strauss