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.