TAUNTON – England newcomer Tom Curran believes he can bowl even quicker after taking three wickets on his international debut.
Although he appears slightly-built the Surrey paceman surprised several South Africa batsman with his speed on the way to figures of 3/33 in his maximum allowed four overs in the second Twenty20 international at Taunton on Friday.
And even if his haul could not prevent South Africa winning by three runs to square the three-match series at 1-1 heading into Sunday’s finale at Cardiff, the lively Curran’s return could yet prove to be of greater significance to England than this result.
It took Curran just two balls to strike, removing Proteas opener Reeza Hendricks. He also accounted for Chris Morris before an excellent yorker bowled Andile Phehlukwayo for a golden duck.
England captain Eoin Morgan reckoned Curran had got quicker to face, and the bowler himself said he was reaping the rewards of some hard work in the off-season.
“Coming out of school, I’ve had my first couple of summers with Surrey,” he said. “I’ve bowled a lot of overs, and that limited how my pace was. But I worked hard in the gym this winter and gathered a yard. So, that’s positive.
“You get stronger, you get to know your action a bit more and you’re just developing. I’m still only 22 and hopefully as I get older, I can put on a couple more yards.”
Curran, the son of the late Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin, was born in Cape Town, where he played representative schools cricket.
But it was there too that he was ‘spotted’ by former Surrey captain Ian Greig.
The ex-England International’s intervention led to the then-17-year-old Curran playing Second XI cricket for Surrey in 2012, and the following year, he made his first-team debut for the London-based club.
In time, he was joined by younger brother Sam, currently involved with the second-string England Lions.
What an honour it was wearing an England shirt for the first time yesterday! Overwhelmed by all the love. Such a special day. Onto Cardiff🙌🏼
Many successful Surrey sides have featured sets of brothers, be it the Bedser twins, Alec and Eric, who starred in the club’s run of seven consecutive County Championship titles in the 1950s, or the Bicknells, Darren and Martin, who featured in the team that won three Championships at the turn of the century.
But Tom’s hope is that he and Sam will follow in the footsteps of Adam and the late Ben Hollioake, teammates of the Bicknells, by playing in the same England team.
“We’re both taking small steps at a time, and hopefully this is the start of a long career with England for myself,” Tom said.
“The dream is to play for England with my brother, and I guess you could stay this is the start,” added Curran, whose grandfather also played first-class cricket for Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) when the country took part in South Africa’s domestic competition before it gained independent international status.
Tom Curran was called up halfway across the world to England’s senior squad in the Caribbean as cover for the injured Jake Ball in March after impressing in the Lions’ unofficial ‘Tests’ in Sri Lanka.
“I was obviously disappointed not to play in the Caribbean, but it was a great experience for me to be around that environment for the first time,” said Curran.
He added: “I was backing my skills, and I knew when I got my chance, I would be ready. But I don’t think anything can prepare you for when you actually get out there – the nerves, the adrenaline.
“Being critical, there are a few things I would improve on, but if you’d offered me those figures at the start of the day, I would have bitten your arm off.”