England's miserable tour of Australia has served up another batch of disappointment with the news that Steven Finn has been sent home, selection trouble that arrives alongside the confirmation that Kevin Pietersen is in the provisional Twenty20 squad for March's World Cup.
As reported by Paul Newman of the Daily Mail, Finn's dramatic loss of bowling form has secured the 24-year-old an early plane home. Ashley Giles, England's one-day coach, suggests the difficult decision was taken for the good of the player:
We feel this is the best thing for Steven.
He’s obviously not been bowling well enough to be selected and we feel the best place for him right now is to be out of that performance environment.
We’re taking part in the most difficult tour, along with India, and Steven’s just not pickable at the moment.
Finn, a player many expect the Three Lions to build their future teams around, was the only man from the 17-strong squad who didn't feature during Australia's 5-0 thumping in the Ashes, per BBC Sport.
The 6'7" powerhouse took two wickets in two first-class encounters upon England's arrival, but his inability to stop the opposition clocking runs—underlined by an economy rate of 4.44—stopped him being selected in any of the nation's Test batterings.
Finn is the third Englishman to exit the tour early after Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann, leaving the country's resources stretched against an Australian outfit that is playing with palpable confidence in front of their home crowd.
Giles explained the decision to send Finn home is to benefit the player and will allow him to work on the "technical" side of his game:
While one team falls apart, another begins to take shape. Pietersen's name has been thrown into the provisional 30-man squad who will attempt to challenge for the Twenty20 World Cup, "but his international future remains very much in jeopardy," according to Newman's report.
Giles hints KP may not make the cut once the final 15-man squad is announced, but at this stage of proceedings, wishes to have the option of picking the South African-born star who can make a real difference on his day:
Kev's been a fantastic player for England over many years but hasn't played a huge amount of one-day and Twenty20 cricket of late. We'll name a 15 the day after we get back from here and we'll see then.
Despite Australia's 5-0 whitewash of England during the recent Ashes series, Giles' one-day team have a chance to save a smidgen of pride when they take on the Baggy Greens in Brisbane on Jan. 17.
The hosts took a simple six-wicket win in the opening contest, suggesting English spirits aren't likely to be lifted anytime soon in the Southern Hemisphere.