Stand-in coach for the Sri Lanka tour, Graham Thorpe credited IPL for Sam Curran’s success in international cricket and attested that the T20 extravaganza moulded the all-rounder to excel in high-pressure situations. Thorpe also stressed that Curran has the potential to become an all-format star.
Eyebrows were raised when Kings XI Punjab, in the IPL 2019 auction, purchased a 20-year-old Sam Curran for INR 7.20 crore, owing to the fact that the all-rounder, at that time, had barely appeared for England in white-ball cricket, only dominating the Test arena. Two years on, however, despite Punjab letting the all-rounder go, the prudence of the move has got recognition, as, apart from dominating the IPL donning CSK’s Yellow Jersey, Curran has also become a white-ball regular for England.
23 now, the younger Curran is an integral part of both the ODI and T20I sides of England, and most recently made headlines two days ago when he claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in the 50-over format to propel the Three Lions to a series win over Sri Lanka.
That Curran possesses an abundance of talent is a well-known fact, but, according to Graham Thorpe, the IPL has played its part in moulding the all-rounder. The stand-in coach for the Sri Lanka tour credited the T20 extravaganza for Curran’s development and claimed that constantly playing in high-pressure situations has helped Curran mature as a cricketer.
"I think it's helped him enormously," Thorpe said of Curran's IPL stint, reported Cricbuzz.
"Every environment Sam has gone into, he's shown that ability to compete and an ability to find a way of putting performances in. From that perspective, playing in the IPL has put him in high-pressured situations and pushed him."
Curran broke into the scene by decimating the Indian side in Test cricket, but, in two years, the 23-year-old has become more of a white-ball specialist, with red-ball appearances for the country only coming a few and far between. After Ben Stokes, Curran is the closest all-format all-rounder England have, and Thorpe asserted that the challenge for the youngster will be to establish him a regular in all three formats.
"He's got to try and be in the mix as well for Test cricket. It sounds like quite a lot of cricket. As you know, with someone like Ben Stokes, the amount of work and fitness levels that are required for that is huge,” Thorpe said.
"So the challenge for Sam to be a multi-format cricketer is delivering that consistency as well for England time and time again. That'll be one of the bigger challenges for Sam going forward. But that very much lies on his shoulders to do that. We know we've got a very exciting cricketer with us, and we just have to keep encouraging him to improve and keep getting better as a player all the time."
England have, thus far, won all matches in their ongoing white-ball clash against Sri Lanka (3-0 in T20Is and 2-0* in ODIs) but awaiting the Three Lions next, post the final ODI, is a tricky opponent in the form of Pakistan. Thorpe admitted that the Lankan batting is a bit weak, but insisted that Pakistan will certainly give Morgan’s men a run for their money.
"Potentially the Pakistan series could push us further. The Sri Lankan bowling attack has been decent, but they've been weakened more on their batting side. I think Pakistan will be a team that's further ahead in terms of experience and how they'll be able to challenge as well. It'll probably be a tougher contest."
The third and final ODI between England and Sri Lanka will be played on July 4 at the County Ground in Bristol.