Sam Curran: The English bloke who refuses to back down
IPL 2019 has proved to be one of the most exciting tournaments with the kind of matches it produces. The match on Monday the 1st of April proved to be another example. It is not every day that a team loses 7 wickets for just 8 runs at the death. Delhi Capitals choked once again to a 14-run defeat this time. It would not have been possible without a young man who held his nerve till the end and managed to bag the first hat-trick of this year's IPL.
Yes, none other than the skinny, five-foot-seven all-rounder, Samuel Matthew Curran.
This young lad has a fascinating story. He comes from a family of cricketers. His father Kevin Malcolm Curran played international cricket for Zimbabwe. He grew up in Harare for some part of his childhood. He has two brothers—Thomas Kevin Curran and Benjamin Jack Curran, who also have played for England. Ben Curran has not represented the country so far. It wouldn't be wrong to say that competitive cricket runs through their veins.
Sam Curran lost his father when he was 14 years old, which might have been a huge setback in his life, but this didn't stop him. He made it a point to get into county cricket for Surrey. At the age of 17 years and 40 days, he became the second-youngest player to debut for Surrey.
He performed exceptionally in the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup, scoring 201 runs and taking 7 wickets. He received his first international call in the year 2017–18 in the England and New Zealand tri-series but didn't get an opportunity to play.
We first saw him in the Test series against Pakistan in June 2018, where he played decently with both bat and ball but did not really show his talent until the home series against India. When India arrived in England to play the series, Sam Curran would have been the least of their concerns, with the likes of Stuart Broad and James Anderson expected to do the most damage. Little did they know how this kid could single-handedly change the fate of the series.
Indian cricket lovers know his rearguard action at Edgbaston and the Rose Bowl at the back of their hands. His half-centuries proved to be the clincher with India sinking to a 4-1 loss. In the first match, he skittled the Indian top order when they got off to a good start. His game-changing efforts in three games earned him the Man of the Series award despite missing out on one game.
This performance, along with many more in the Super-Smash in the 17–18 season and Natwest T20 blast, earned him a 7.2 crore contract with Kings XI Punjab for this year’s IPL. In December-January 2019, he had an uneventful Test series in the West Indies. There was a huge debate that his bowling had become ineffective and that he was a condition-specific bowler. It was said that he was effective only when the ball swung.
He played the first game against Rajasthan, which proved to be one of the most controversial matches of the season so far. He did not get an opportunity to bat and went for 52 runs in his 4 overs but did manage to take two crucial wickets at the end. After that match, he was dropped from the side and the critics continued to say that he was more of batsman who could bowl a bit, but he was only effective when the ball swung.
He kept working hard and tried being as competitive as possible. In Monday's game, he got a chance to open the batting with KL Rahul as Chris Gayle was out with a niggle. He managed to get his team off to a decent start, scoring a quickfire 20 of 10 balls.
He opened the bowling with the new ball but didn't get much purchase out of a batsman-friendly wicket. He was brought back on in the 18th over when Delhi needed 20-odd runs from the last three overs with 5 wickets in hand. It seemed like a cakewalk for them. But this young man refused to give in to a challenge.
Curran picked up 2 wickets in the over and came back in the last over of the game to complete a well-deserved hat-trick making him the youngest bowler in the IPL to take a hat-trick. He just stuck to the basics, full and straight yorkers on the stumps, forcing the batsman to make mistakes.
Samuel Matthew Curran’s story is an inspiration to all the young players out there to never give up when the chips are down because a true winner in life almost always tastes some failure. This enviable hero has shown that even when one isn’t having the best of games if one continues to give a 100 percent, results automatically follow.
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