Sam Curran has suggested that England will sharpen their killer instinct when the T20 World Cup begins, saying that although they allowed Matthew Wade to get away with a clear case of blocking the field in first Twenty20 against Australia on Sundays they wouldn’t be so forgiving if there was more at stake.
In the 17th over, with the match entering its decisive phase and the game in the balance, Wade sent the ball straight into the Perth sky from the top edge of his bat before throwing an arm out to prevent Mark Wood in to reach it. on the way back to earth. But Jos Buttler chose not to appeal, later explaining that he had not seen the incident because he had been focusing on the ball and that he felt it was best not to ignite controversy so early in their time in the country.
“Maybe in a World Cup game it might have been different,” Curran said. “When you play a game against Australia and at a World Cup, your competitive edge will be out there and there will be a desire to win at all costs. At the moment you hope they take it on top and the best decision is made because Woody bowled a nice ball there and he probably deserved a wicket and he [Wade] probably got in the way a bit. The right thing is probably what Jos said – we’ll be here for a long time, it’s a bit of fun, but maybe it will be different further down the line.”
Last Wednesday, when England trained for the first time since arriving in Australia, was also the anniversary of Curran being officially ruled out of the last World Cup with the injury the nation’s bowlers seem to fear but rarely avoid, a stress fracture in the lower spine. That experience seems to have made him more grateful for his place in the current squad, but also less keen to get too excited about what the next few weeks might bring.
“I don’t want to talk too much about the World Cup because I missed the last one when I was very close,” he said on Tuesday as the team moved to Canberra ahead of Wednesday’s second game against Australia. “Missing it was heartbreaking. I didn’t play much red ball cricket this summer because of the body and the main focus has always been trying to get fit for this. Thankfully we are here and I’m really excited. I’ve heard a lot about World Cup and they are fantastic to be a part of.
“I’m getting excited to play, but at the same time it’s a scary thing to get excited because I missed the last World Cup and we’re almost there but there’s still two more games. I probably just have to stay keep trying to make some plays and if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep smashing away. I’m just really excited to be around a World Cup after missing out on a last one year. It’s a very strong team. I’m sure who’s playing [in the first game] against Afghanistan will be delighted, but it’s going to take the whole squad to win the tournament.”
Curran’s injury forced him to confront some new challenges this summer, most obviously when he was still unable to bowl, playing as a specialist batter at the start of the County Championship. He duly averaged 75.66 across six innings, a massive improvement on his first-class career average of 30.05. In those half-dozen at-bats, he managed to reach at least 50 only once, with his finest effort a career-best 126 against Kent in June.
“At Surrey I had the opportunity to use that batsman’s mindset,” he said. “In England it will be a bit different because of the strength and my role will be to come down the order and try to go from ball one. At Surrey I have been given a lot of confidence to go up the order and that has helped my games, but obviously my role will be different with England. My role is just to focus on finishing and getting better at it. I’ll just try to focus on performing in the games and hopefully the rest can just take care of itself.”