The hyperbole has been turned up to the maximum since Steven Finn took his nine wicket haul against Bangladesh in the 1st test at Lord's. Indeed, he has been compared to Glenn McGrath nearly as many times as Prince Andrew rues the day he ever met Sarah Ferguson.
Although we at the Reverse Sweep think that Finn is a very promising player and indeed named him as one of our players to watch for the season, we feel some perspective is needed here. Yes, he took nine wickets in his first home test match, but the opposition was Bangladesh who are not exactly recognised for their ability to cope with lift and bounce. Fortunately, Finn seems a fairly level headed chap and he will know that Pakistan later in the summer, let alone Australia in November, will present a much more difficult challenge. Only then will we be able to gauge how ready the tall Middlesex bowler is for the Ashes.
Finn doesn't need to even look outside the England dressing room for the last young bowler who burst onto the scene and was praised as the best thing since sliced bread before vanishing as quickly as he appeared.
Of course, James Anderson is now established as the leader of England's attack, but after appearing from nowhere during the one day series in Australia in 2003, he soon lost form and fitness. Anderson's rise was even more dramatic than Finn's. After impressing in the Academy, he was thrust into the one day squad because Andrew Caddick was injured and proceeded to star in that series and the World Cup that followed. When he took five wickets in his debut test innings against Zimbabwe, it seemed England had found a new star.
But then Anderson went backwards and it was only in New Zealand in 2008 that Anderson re-established himself in the team for good. So Finn and the England management team will hopefully be aware that there is a long way to go yet before he becomes the finished article.
Rather than hyperbole, we prefer guarded optimism that Finn will star in Australia. Whatever happens, England will need to play better than they have against Bangladesh at Lord's and so far at Old Trafford to stand any chance in the Ashes.