An outstanding series against the Indian team during their tour to England, coupled with his highly successful domestic campaign made all-rounder Sam Curran a must-have for a host of teams during the VIVO Indian Premier League Auction. After some intense bidding involving multiple teams, it was the Shers who managed to snap up the highly rated young Englishman.
In his maiden VIVO IPL campaign, the 20-year-old was, at times, sensational. His ability to open the bowling as well as the batting made him a unique threat to any opposition. With the ball in his hand, the left-arm pacer can generate genuinely scary pace and with the bat, Curran knows only one way and it’s taking the opposition bowlers to the cleaners.
While his talent is certainly unquestionable, what strikes most about this second-generation cricketer is his mental fortitude and his ability to turnaround and make in-game adjustments to get the best out of himself. The best example of him showcasing these qualities was his VIVO IPL debut against Rajasthan Royals, where he leaked 48 in his first three overs, but returned at the death to pick two crucial wickets and give away just four runs which culminated in a thrilling win for the Shers.
His debut was an indicator of his mental toughness, but his second outing of the season was a barometer of his unbelievable potential. Having come in to open the batting against the Delhi Capitals, Curran smashed a quickfire 20 off just 11 deliveries and with the ball in his hand, the Surrey-native was unplayable, as he picked up 4-11 in 3.2 overs including a hat-trick that featured two inch-perfect, in-swinging toe-crushers that helped the Shers win another thriller in Mohali.
His season seemingly tailed off as the Shers visited grounds where the wicket favoured the slower bowlers, prompting the management to have a look at other options in the squad. But in another display of his immense mental toughness, Curran finished the campaign with two more outstanding all-around performances against two quality oppositions.
In the Shers’ penultimate game of the season against Kolkata Knight Riders, the 20-year-old smashed the ball to all parts of the ground, scoring his maiden VIVO IPL 50 in the process. Of the final 10 deliveries of KXIP’s batting effort, Curran faced nine and scored 31 off those, helping the team put up a competitive total on board.
In the following match against Chennai Super Kings, Curran picked up 3/35 on a belter of a batting surface at Mohali. Not only were his bowling numbers impressive, Curran’s three scalps included seasoned cricketers like Shane Watson, Faf Du Plessis and Suresh Raina, who have scored close to 12,000 runs in the VIVO IPL between them.
Big names and tough situations don’t faze young Sam Curran. The management went into the auction aiming to build a young core for the long-term future of the franchise, and if this season is anything to go by, Curran might just be the backbone of the Shers in years to come.