SAM CURRAN looks unlikely to be named when England confirm their Cricket World Cup squad this Wednesday – and former international Ryan Sidebottom is deflated by the likely omission.
You’ve heard about the goalkeepers union in football – it seems left-arm bowlers have similar solidarity and the shaggy-haired Yorkshire stalwart sympathises with the youngster’s expected disappointment.
The Surrey pup went for big money in the IPL auction in a bid to stake his claim for a spot in Eoin Morgan’s 15-man squad, but his performances for Kings XI Punjab have been decidedly mixed.
“I’d be disappointed if Sam doesn’t make it,” said Sidebottom, speaking from Leeds on the latest leg of the ICC Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan.
“Every team now has a left-armer, if not two, in their team. The variation he brings, alongside left-arm spinners, is very dangerous.
“It would be a shame if he doesn’t make it, but I will say he is still very young and still learning.
“You look at his performances in the IPL – he got smacked around in his first game and dropped off the back of it.
“When they put him back in the team, he came back and did brilliantly, taking four wickets to win the game. That’s the sign of a really good player.
“It can be so tough as a bowler but it’s about coming back strongly.
“He’s won games for England already at this age. He won’t get downhearted if he misses out – he’ll crack on and keep striving to get better and better.”
Curran burst onto the scene last summer and nearly joined Sidebottom as the second left-arm bowler to take a Test five-wicket haul for England this century, snaffling 4/74 against India.
The pair worked together during Sidebottom’s short stint as bowling coach at Surrey last summer and the 41-year-old has since sung the praises of the 11-time international.
Sidebottom was part of the only-ever England team to win a major global event, offering canny seam and variety to Paul Collingwood’s side that won the World T20 in the Caribbean in 2010.
The Huddersfield-born ace underlines the trump card of left-arm seam bowling up front simply cannot be disposed of, with bowling variety a must if England want to bag a second major trophy.
“England – if I’m honest, you could pick from 30 or 40 players. There’s any number of players who will miss out and think ‘why are they not selected’,” he added.
“You can only have 15 in a World Cup and we have a massive pool to pick from. That’s the beauty of the World Cup. But we need at least one left-armer whether it’s David Willey or Sam Curran.
“Left-arm swing bowling in the early overs is difficult to play. You tuck up the right hander. You can come over or around the wicket.
“A lot of lefties bowl at the death because of the variety of angles it creates. Over 50 overs, it creates rough for the off-spinner and brings the off-spinner into play in the second innings.
“We need that variety – in 2010 we had (Graeme) Swann, (Mike) Yardy, (Stuart) Broad as a tall and bouncer bowler and (Tim) Bresnan hitting the deck hard.
“The top teams have depth and variety. That variety can change games up really quickly and it keeps the batsman guessing. England have all bases covered in that respect.”
ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30