“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” said someone not named Albert Einstein.
In the world of cricket, there is one player who follows this advice closely—Sam Curran. Commonly known by commentators around the world as Sam “Makes Things Happen” Curran, when results are not going England’s way, you can always find Curran around the corner—trying new things and rescuing England time and again.
In the first T20I against South Africa, he bowled a match-winning spell of 3-28 along with a crucial 7*(3) finishing punch. Another game, and yet another important contribution from Sam Curran.
He is given this title for a reason—the lad never gives up hope. And this is exactly why he is one of my favorite players in the current cricket circuit.
Ask him to salvage Test matches in the lower order? Can do. Ask him to sit out for the Andersons and the Broad? No problem sir. Operate as a swing bowler, death bowler, gun fielder, opener, pinch-hitter, finisher?
Yep, been there. Done that.
The sample size in ODIs/T20Is is relatively small with 5/7 games respectively with uninspiring numbers of combined 39 runs and 14 wickets. Hence, we will only focus on his Tests and T20 stats.
Tests: 19 matches, 728 runs, best of 78, average 26.96, 3-50s
T20s: 85 matches, 1032 runs, best of 55*, average 19.47, 130.79 SR, 5-50s
Tests: 19 matches, 41 wickets, 32.12 average, Best Match – 5/92, 2-4 fors
T20s: 85 matches, 79 wickets, 29.16 average, Best – 4/11, 2-4 fors
The numbers are not that spectacular, are they? Yet, numbers do not paint the whole picture. It his impact that is palpable.
My First Memory of Sam Curran
I am not sure I have ever seen a more sparkling introduction to Test cricket in recent memory.
India lost the 5-match series 4-1 although the series was closer than the score line suggested. Were India ever out of the series like 2011? No, but just whenever England seemed to lose their way, Sam came into the picture.
It all started in the first test at Edgbaston, which was the second Test for Curran.
In the first innings, from 6-224, he dragged England to 287 with a valiant 24(98). Next innings, he pulled England from 6-85 to 180 with an attacking 63 (103). In between, 3 wickets in space of 8 balls at Edgbaston to reduce India from 50-0 to 59-3.
He played a couple of other knocks like 78 (136) at Southampton, a few 40s here and there, and took important wickets.
Not the highest scorer, nor the highest wicket taker, but impactful nevertheless. Ending up winning England’s Man of the Series award and was deservedly, one of the breakout stars of 2018.
What Can We Learn From Sam Curran?
Since that Test debut, he has not got too many opportunities. With a bowling line up of Broad-Anderson-Woakes in Tests and Archer-Rashid-Jordan in limited overs, it is hard to find consistent opportunities. Heck, he even has to compete with his brother Tom for a spot.
Yet, as the South Africa match showed, whatever opportunities he gets, he makes the most out of it. Recently, in the IPL, he was one of the young stars for CSK amidst a dismal campaign. He bowled at the death, opened the innings, and finished a game or two as well.
So what can we learn from him?
- Quick Learner: Give him a new role, he will take a game or two to adjust and then you see immediate results. Good skill to have for a job application.
- Keep Curiosity Alive: There is never an age to stop learning. Ask questions, keep on learning.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None: Literally strike that out. As a rule of thumb, master two trades and the rest is bonus. Having a primary and a secondary skill is crucial in today’s day and age. Then, you can go and become the jack of the rest of the trades.
- Be ready: Being Sam Curran may not always be easy. You are never guaranteed a game. Your role is not defined clearly. It does not matter. When your time comes, give it your all.
- Courage: When things are not going your way, keep on trying new things even if it may be risky. Volunteer for the pinch-hitter opener role. Pitch the ball up hoping for some swing. How about a slow cutter with a risk of getting hit?
As one of my good friends said,
If you ain’t dying, you ain’t living.
So take risks once in a while. It is going to be okay. Try new things, but never give up.
Currently we can see the impact these utility players have. India’s two games against Australia exposed a problem – a sixth bowling option. None of India’s batsman bowl and none of their bowlers bat.
Yes – the Pandyas, the Cummins, the Ben Stokes – are all necessary for a team’s success, but having one all-rounder only may not be enough.
This English limited over team is built of giants – Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Buttler, Archer, Rashid, and Stokes. Their legacy is forever etched in record books and cricketing legend.
Without their star power, England could not have won the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Yet, the world also needs the Liam Plunketts, the Moeen Alis, the Joe Denlies, and most definitely the Sam Currans. Whatever the team requires of them, they adapt and deliver. With a smile and without a grudge.
He has a long career ahead of him. The stats will improve. We can just sit back and enjoy Sam Curran’s presence—conquering the world one game at a time—calm, courageous, and charismatic.