Injured England fast bowler Steven Finn hopes to be back to full fitness ahead of the second Test against South Africa.
Finn was not included in England’s Test squad for the tour after suffering a foot injury in a warm-up match in the build-up to England’s series against Pakistan in the UAE.
The 26-year-old, who spent part of his rehabilitation with the Premier League club Watford before returning to the UAE to join the England Lions, is understood to be privately targeting a return to full fitness before the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town, which starts on 2 January.
Finn will step up his return on Friday with his first bowl in more than two months.
First Finn will get the chance to test out his injury for the Lions in Friday’s third Twenty20 against Pakistan A, the second of back-to-back matches in Dubai. Mick Newell, one of the four England selectors, joined the squad this week and will be able to report on the Middlesex seamer’s progress to the head coach, Trevor Bayliss.
‘A few things were said when I wasn’t in the [South Africa] squad about me being done for the tour, but I’m determined for that not to be the case,’ Finn told the England and Wales Cricket Board’s website before his competitive comeback against Pakistan A.
‘When you’re injured you always want to get back as early as you can but you don’t want to push it to a point where you make the injury even worse. So we’ve been sensible.
‘But I’ve had two and a half months now of not playing cricket and I think it’s come to a point now where I can start being realistic about going out to South Africa and hopefully playing a part over there.’