During England’s tour of New Zealand Steve Finn was dubbed ‘the Watford Wall’ for his resolute defence of his wicket as nightwatchman in the first Test.
Arguably New Zealanders would have wanted to know two things. What is the Watford Wall? And where is Watford?
The Kiwis now know about the Wall. But they still probably don’t know where Watford is.
Such has been Finn’s oddly remarkable influence on the game he’s already forced the ICC to rewrite the no-ball law because of his bowling technique.
And if that isn’t enough, the former Parmiter’s School pupil made his mark on the pitch as well on the other side of the world.
The fast bowler scored a dogged 56 to help England draw the first Test in New Zealand last month, his highest score in first-class cricket. Then he took six for 126 in the third Test to equal his best figures in the five-day format of the game.
So an ICC law change. A stylish tail-ender’s batting performance. And impressive bowling figures.
And let’s not forget, the 24-year-old Middlesex player won England’s FTI Most Valuable Player award for his performances this winter in all formats against India, New Zealand and during the World Twenty20.
It’s fair to say that Watford-born Finn has come a long way since playing his first match at Radlett Cricket Club at the age of seven.
But what of the determined, ultimately successful blocking technique that became known as the ‘Watford Wall’?
He said: “The Watford wall was good fun but then in the next Test I had a pair of ducks. That’s the way it goes.
“But I have been quietly working on my batting, so when that comes off in a game it is great.”
Finn, who lives in Kings Langley, returned to England last weekend after spending a week in Fiji after the New Zealand tour.
England drew the three-match series but the trip proved he was worthy of his place. He was pleased with the consistency of his bowling.
“As a young player I had to accept that I was going to have ups and downs and I wouldn’t be as consistent as other bowlers. I think that consistency is finding its way into my game through bowling and playing,” he said.
“Picking the brains of the more senior guys in the England team is something that I have tried to do more and more.”
On winning England’s FTI Most Valuable Player award he added: “Whether I deserved it or not I don’t know. But it was a nice thing to pick up. It’s done on a points system over the winter and I played more games than anyone else so I think that is why I got it.”
Finn is likely to take part in Middlesex’s first two fixtures of the new county season and, barring injury, will probably be selected for New Zealand’s tour of England in May.
And he is hopeful of cementing his place in the Test team in the months leading up to the Ashes which starts in July.
“A home Ashes series is something that I have always dreamed about playing in,” he said.
“To play at Lord’s would be perfect. There’s a long way to go though and a lot of things could happen. Hopefully over the next few months I can establish myself in the side.”
One of Finn’s claims to ‘cricketing history’ is the ICC rule change.
He would inadvertently knock the bails off the non-striker’s end with his trailing leg while bowling.
Above: An unwanted trademark: Finn would knock the bails off at the non-striker's end when running into bowl
The ICC changed the no-ball rule to include such an incident - and it comes into effect at the end of the month.
He’s adopted a shorter run-up in order to avoid a repeat but joked: “As long as they name it after me I don’t care. I shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place but there were a lot of grey areas.
“Now there is a set law on it and if everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet then that suits me far better.”
When not at Lord's, Finn’s county side Middlesex train at Radlett Cricket Club. It is a place he has fond memories of.
“I grew up and played my first ever game of cricket at Radlett when I was seven years old,” he said.
“I have played there quite a bit with Langleybury and West Herts. It is somewhere that is close to my heart.”