Sam Curran called up as cover for injured Ben Stokes
What's the story?
With Ben Stokes unlikely to feature in the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley later this week, left arm seam bowling all-rounder Sam Curran has been drafted into the squad as a cover. Stokes is under an injury cloud after a hamstring issue he encountered during a fielding drill on Wednesday. Although he has not been ruled out of the Test match as of now, the team management is waiting for the scan results to reveal the full extent of the aggravation.
Curran, who plays for Surrey in the domestic circuit, travelled to Leeds on Wednesday night and will train with the squad on Thursday. Stokes' injury could also mean that Chris Woakes, the twelfth man at Lord's, will return to the side and Curran will slot in for Dom Bess after his lackluster show will the ball at Lord's.
In case you didn't know...
If handed an England cap, Curran will become the seventh youngest cricketer, at 19 years and 363 days, to debut for England in Test cricket. He will also become the third player aged 20 or under to play for England in their last five Test matches. Spinners Mason Crane and Dom Bess made their debuts at Sydney and Lord's respectively this year, both were 20 at the time.
The heart of the matter
The younger brother of Tom Curran, who debuted for England in the Ashes, Sam will breathe fresh life into the English bowling line-up, if he plays, with his left arm swing bowling. He will also become the first English left-arm seamer to debut in Test cricket in almost two decades, the last being Ryan Sidebottom, who debuted against the same opponent at Lord's in 2001, showing how rare the breed is in England.
It will be an exciting prospect as England have been undone by three left-arm fast bowlers in their last three series, Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult and Mohammad Amir.
Curran, though not a like-for-like replacement for Ben Stokes, has handy batting skills lower down the order with 10 first-class fifties and a batting average of 27.18 in 38 games a testament to his ability with the bat. A capable batsman in the lower order might put to an end England's newfound frustrating trend of collapsing quickly after solid starts at the apex of the batting.
Curran's call-up elevates his status further in the cricket hierarchy. He was inducted into the World XI squad for the Hurricane Relief T20 Challenge, but will miss that owing to national duties. He was also a part of the England side that took on New Zealand and Australia in the Trans-Tasman T20 tri-series. Two weeks back, he picked 10 wickets in a Championship game against Yorkshire, dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara twice and England batsman Joe Root once.
Headingley might suit his style of bowling considering his knack of drawing the ball into the right hander which makes him such an exciting and potent prospect to look forward to at the highest level of the game.