India managed to see out the opening spells of England’s Big Two – James Anderson and Stuart Broad – but instead lost three top-order wickets in a hurry to the 20-year-old Sam Curran. Here’s a little bit more on one of the newer faces in England’s Test side
Curran…there’s another of those, isn’t there?
Yes, indeed. Sam’s brother Tom, who also plays for Surrey, made his Test debut against Australia in Melbourne and has also featured in the one-day and T20 sides. There is another brother as well, Ben, who is involved in the Surrey set-up and is very highly rated. Their father, Kevin, played 11 ODIs for Zimbabwe and had a long career in county cricket with Northamptonshire.
Has it been a rapid rise for Sam?
In a way as he’s only 20 – which is young for an international cricketer in England – but he’s been on the radar for a few years. He made his Surrey Championship debut as a 17-year-old in 2015, taking eight wickets in the match against Kent and by the end of the following season was already in the England Lions set-up. His Test claims were given a significant leg up early this summer when he took ten wickets in the Championship match against Yorkshire – a side that featured Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Cheteshwar Pujara (who he removed twice).
How did his Test debut go?
He was the seventh youngest man – at 19 years and 363 days – to debut in Tests for England. There were obviously a few nerves against Pakistan at Headingley – Stuart Broad said Curran struggled a little with the slope of the ground – and Curran joked that having his first Test wicket, Shadab Khan, caught at deep midwicket wasn’t quite how he’d dreamt it. But he was more comfortable in the second innings.
He looked pretty solid with the bat as well
He is certainly classed as an allrounder at first-class level and his batting ability is one of the reasons he was first called up and kept his place in this match ahead of Jamie Porter. There is even a school of thought that he could develop into more of a batting allrounder – he has spoken of his desire to bat higher up the order for Surrey and he already has 11 half-centuries in 42 first-class matches.
He’s quite short for a fast bowler. Will that be a problem?
It has been one of the debates raised about his long-term prospects of being an international pace bowler. There’s nothing he can do about his height, he just has to make the best of the natural skills he has which, as was on show at Edgbaston this morning, is making the ball swing. It’s true that there haven’t been too many successful short pace bowlers at the top level, but Curran will be about his all-round package. And, of course, there’s the variation he brings of being a left-arm which is something Trevor Bayliss has been keen on having in the Test side.