Can Sam Curran become England’s next white ball superstar?

Today new writer Jack Swaby discusses Sam Curran’s IPL performances and asks whether he can break into England’s ODI team …

This year’s Indian Premier League has had the same headlines, the form of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, the six young men who are apparently the new superstar of Indian cricket, Rohit is a better captain than Virat and so on.

Behind the headlines however, Englishman Sam Curran has made waves in the world’s premier t20 competition with some impressive all round performances.

Many onlookers expected that the Surrey man was picked up in the auction by the Chennai Super Kings, led by former Indian captain Dhoni, as injury cover for legendary West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Fortune favoured Curran, 22, and Bravo came into the tournament nursing a slight niggle following his exploits in the Caribbean Premier League, and the young left armer has never looked back.

A batting average of 23 with a strike rate of 130 and 13 wickets at a wily economy rate of just over eight, Curran has been the standout performer for a side that has flattered to deceive this season, finishing bottom of the table.

He played in all 14 games for the men in yellow, often playing at the expense of Chennai stalwart and t20 world cup winning Bravo.

It has been more than two years since Curran’s debut for England in the test arena and is one of the men that will be expected to step up as legendary pair Stuart Broad and James Anderson head towards the twilight of their incredible careers.

He has however, only appeared on ten occasions in white ball colours for his country, mostly while deputising for injured or rested members of the squad.

A powerful and aggressive batsman, Curran has demonstrated, both for the Super Kings and for Surrey, his ability to bat at the top of the order, or as a useful lower order hitter.

The youngest of the Curran brothers also has the advantage of bowling left arm, a commodity that any team in any format are consistently looking for.

General consensus from cricket fans across the country was adequately summed up by Rob Key whilst working for Sky Sports this summer: “He makes things happen.”

It is these traits that would have made Curran a mainstay of any England white ball squad in any other era.

Unfortunately for the man from Guildford, Eoin Morgan’s men have dominated limited overs cricket for the past five years.

A world cup win in 2019 and a world t20 final appearance where only a brutal batting performance from… I hope you took Ian Bishop advice and have remembered the name, cemented the view that England are the dominant force in white ball cricket in the international game,

Much of this success has been down to consistency of selection.

Current England selector James Taylor gave more debuts in his capacity as stand in captain in an ODI series against Ireland in 2016 than Morgan did in the entire period between world cups in 2015 and 2019.

The England skipper has also been active in the IPL this season captaining the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Surrey all-rounder’s performances will have certainly alerted the Irishman of Curran’s improving t20 game.

Curran’s chance to become a national hero may come sooner than everyone, including the player himself, may have expected.

The inconsistency that has plagued Moeen Ali in the last 18 months and with Sam’s older brother Tom failing to make an impact in the same competition in which his younger sibling thrived, could force Morgan, Ed Smith and Chris Silverwood to consider Sam’s merits as England seek a second consecutive global crown in the postponed t20 world cup due to take place in Australia next year.

His performances in the world’s premier short format competition in recent weeks have seen him included in England’s t20 squad for the upcoming limited overs tour of South Africa, where he can certainly expect to have earned his opportunity to showcase his ability on the international stage.

A graduate from Surrey’s seemingly endless conveyor belt of talent, Sam Curran could well convert himself from a test match rotation option, to a genuine all format superstar in the months to come.

Jack Swaby


  • Test match superstar ?? Are you on drugs
    Or an ECB spokesman ?!? Good god

    He will be a decent 2020 player but that’s all. The rest he shouldn’t be near

    • The article doesn’t say he’ll become a test match superstar. It’s says he could become a genuine all-format superstar. My interpretation of this is that he could become one of the few players who can contribute in all forms with consistency. He could, technically, turn out to be a player like Buttler i.e. outstanding in certain formats but still handy in Tests. This would make him one of the more visible / well known players in the world even if he doesn’t end up with Test stats like Stokes.

      • You cannot be serious in comparing Curran to Buttler. He has yet to show the ability to be outstanding in any format. I know he’s young but the raw material is so far seems limited.

      • Buttler handy in Tests? Yeah, for opposition batsmen. No chance of being stumped, even if you decide as a batsman to visit your mother while you’re batting.

        He has won England all of 1 Test in nearly 50 games. And lost England many more …

        • If you visit your mother while you’re batting you’ll get dropped by your own team these days…:-)

  • Great article.

    I enjoy watching the movement TCur generates while bowling in English conditions. I think he could have a long career just as a bowler.

    However, he really reminds me of Steve Waugh. Waugh was a decent medium pace bowler good for closing out one-day games for Alan Border. What made Waugh truly a great player in both formats was learning how to play AND Captain from the Iron fist of Border.

    Morgan’s steely eye and brutal match demeanor remind me of Border. Both are hard men who lead by example and expect wins.

    If he learns from Morgan TCur could be England’s Test captain in a few years. Such great parallels with Waugh.

  • In the modern era I cannot recall so much fuss being made about a player over so little.
    Curran had a decent first test series with the bat, though he was picked as a bowler. Since then what impact has he really made in any game white or red ball?
    No one doubts he’s a good competitor but as to natural talent he is clearly limited. I rate his brother as a better prospect in all forms. How either can be called potential superstars is a complete mystery to me.

  • Being a Surrey supporter I’ve watched Sam develop from a 16 year old being paid by bags of sweets! A better bat than a bowler, but has yett to score a first class 100. His bowling at Test level offeres a left arm option on the right pitches, but he is very hitable at his low 80s pace otherwise. A good 50 over option and a Test number 8 at best in my view. Like his brother he offers terrific determination and rarely gets injured, a bonus these days.
    I don’t really think that the hit and giggle of the IPL or T20 in generalcan be used to examine anyone’s full potential so it’s probably not the best way to access him really. 50 over, yes for sure.

  • I’m interested in whether his bowling can be effective in overseas’ Tests, especially in Australia and India.

    What he did in the IPL and his white-ball future are really of no interest at all.

    • I should have added that, for those interested in Surrey’s health, the DM had some info recently on the county’s finances.

  • Good to see how well young Sam has done – he’s created a big impression in this year’s competition despite being in a struggling team.

    I ultimately suspect he will be a more important white ball cricketer for England than he will in Tests. Despite his excellent start last year, in the longer form of the game I think he’ll end up being similar to Woakes – good in English conditions with the ball, and a very handy lower order batsman, but lacking the pace to make any meaningful contribution away from home.

    • Amazing, and striking…but completely incorrect!

      Morgan gave 11 in that period (plus a further two in a series which was clearly part of his “regime” but in which he was unavailable). Taylor gave five in that game (in 2015).

      A more relevant statistic is maybe that in the two one-off Ireland games in 2015 and 2019, England gave out eight new caps, including three who’ve never played again; and in the four years between those games they gave out twelve. That is, it says more about how England treat one-off games against Ireland than anything else.

      • It does upset me that national caps are given so easily to young players these days in both cricket and football, depending on the nature of the opposition. If there’s is no incentive for consistent success at club level how can more experienced players be motivated to go to the next level. Young players don’t know their own game yet, so are bound to be inconsistent and therefore something of a liability, however talented they are. I’d rather see solid club pros given a chance than untried youngsters, even if it does throw up a few predictable failures. In footie Southgate, because of his previous experience with youngsters, has an obsession with them, and it’s not helping develop a team for the present, Billingham being the latest example. He needs to show he can do a Job game in game out at club level, before he earns the right to an international cap. In cricket Archer and Pope have both earned the right performing consistently against decent opposition, as have Crawley and Sibley. Cricket, as a more technical game than footie, takes longer to learn, but the decision making side is as difficult in both games and this is where young players are inevitably at a disadvantage and will make more errors.

      • …although, to be fair, the debutants in those two Ireland games also included Roy, Archer, Wood and Willey–and two of the one-cappers were the current no. 1 T20 batsman in the world, and Ben Foakes.

        (I’ll make an exception for Zafar Ansari though, who shouldn’t have been anywhere near the England side in any format…I’m not sure that was an over-emphasis on youth though; maybe more an obsession with identifying FECs– see also Keaton Jennings)

        • It’s more to do with the principle of selection. Caps should be earned not just handed out as a testing ground for youngsters. A couple of decent games proves nothing. As I said young players cannot generally be relied on both becasuse their decision making will inevitably be more flawed due to lack of experience and their knowledge of their own game in a practical sense in far from complete.
          I know white ball is easier for youngsters to succeed in as significant impact requires less substantial contributions, but an international cap so should still be earned by consistent performances at club or county level. Leave talent alone to develop into something more substantial. Sport is still inclined to worship the cult of the young, which puts ridiculous pressures of expectectaion on immature shoulders totally unfit to handle it, through no fault of their own. No one’s going to turn down a call up if it happens and so many promising careers have ultimately been disappointing through this weight of expectation.

  • The new rules for the BBL are what a game looks like iin its death throes. Crass and ridiculous gimmicks that alienate existing audiences while not winning anybody new…

    I gather that post-lockdown viewing figures for sports in the US have fallen off the proverbial. That’s despite many entertainment rivals being wiped out or drastically curtailed.


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