Steven Finn: If England play meek, timid cricket against Australia we will be found out

“For the first time, we have been allowed to wear those little ear pieces in the dressing room to hear the television commentary,” says Finn. “Before that they were banned. The TV would always have to be on mute. It is important that, when you are out there playing, you are a team. But it’s also hugely important to let the people in: the fans, the media, and give us an insight.”

But can England maintain this new attitude in the Ashes under Alastair Cook given that he was not part of the one-day revival after being dropped from the squad for the World Cup? “He is a different sort of leader to Eoin (Morgan) with the one-day team but that is necessary in Test cricket. I don’t think Cookie gets as much credit as he should for his captaincy. He is a very good leader, a lot shrewder than people think.”

And Finn points out that Cook will have two cricketers who have lit up the summer.

“Joe Root has been a revelation. I remember, on his first tour to India in 2012, I was bowling in the nets and I thought, ‘this guy is going to be bloody good’. The way he left the ball, the way he watched the ball was something I hadn’t seen in a young guy. He can grind out innings in a Test match, he can up the tempo, he can play funky shots. He is a real situation player. It’s scary to think how good he can be if he keeps learning at the rate he’s been.

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The one Blatter legacy that will live on

The one Blatter legacy that will live on

Inside World Football

It is interesting that, despite all that has been written about FIFA, one issue has not been much discussed. This is how will politicians treat any future FIFA that emerges from its bribery crisis? We know how western politicians now regard FIFA. They have nothing but contempt. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has made this abundantly clear in the House of Commons.

Hugh Robertson, who was sports minister when England made its disastrous bid for the 2018 World Cup, told me: “We should not host the World Cup, or any FIFA tournament, until such time as the organisation is successfully reformed.” It should be emphasised that this seems largely a northern European and American political view. Vladimir Putin, for instance, has suggested that the ongoing investigation is all an American plot and his views are echoed by politicians in the non-western world, particularly the Sepp Blatter strongholds of Asia and Africa.

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Welcome to my website which has a flavour of my activities over 30 years as a writer and broadcaster. There are details of my books, articles, broadcasting, public speaking and awards.

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My new book Game Changer is about the rise and rise of the English Premier League.

The Premier League’s rise was a spectacular cocktail of events, few of which were properly anticipated let alone planned for. Game Changer takes us on a mesmerizing journey charting this rise, involving high stakes, multi-billion pound deals, powerful and rich people, and the future of the beautiful game.

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The Spirit of the Game is now available in paperback.

The spirit of the game was first nurtured on the playing fields of the English public school and this Corinthian spirit was then exported around the world. Today, sport is dominated by corruption, money and celebrity. Yet, we still believe and talk about the game as if it had a higher moral purpose. This book tells the story of how sport has lost its original spirit and how it emerged in the 20th century as the most powerful political tool in the world.

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