Sam Curran ruled out of Surrey’s County Championship game against Somerset

BY MARCUS HOOK

Sam Curran has been forced to sit out Surrey’s Specsavers County Championship clash against Somerset, which gets underway at Taunton today.

Curran junior rounded-off an impressive debut season in the Indian Premier League by helping Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings on May 5.

But it proved to be the end of the line for his Kings XI side in terms of progression in the T20 competition.

Given Surrey’s current injury woes, coupled with Curran senior, Liam Plunkett and Jason Roy being away on international duty, Sam’s county team-mates would have been forgiven for rolling out the red carpet; not least because the youngster is unlikely to feature for England before the Test match against Ireland, starting on July 24.

But despite the 20-year-old posting a picture of himself on social media on Sunday morning, preparing for today’s game in the gym at the Kia Oval, news broke as we went to press that the England management have delayed his return by a week.

Curran, who was purchased in the IPL auction for £800,000, delivered stand out performances with both ball and bat in his nine games in the tournament, and he was in the thick of the action in the final match in Mohali, taking three wickets and scoring the winning runs for Kings XI.

The fresh-faced left-arm seamer signed-off in style, bowling both Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis, who top-scored with 96, en route to figures of three for 35 as Chennai were restricted to 170 for five after being put into bat.

KL Rahul’s 71 from 36 deliveries put them on course to chase the total down and Curran (six not out) thumped South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir down the ground for four to get Kings XI over the line with two overs to spare. But Kings XI finished the IPL season in sixth place, missing out on the play-offs.

Curran, who averaged 23.75 with the bat and 32.30 with the ball for the Kings XI, said: “It was a great performance from the whole team and a massive way to finish the season.

“Obviously, it was a disappointing season in terms of results, but I just want to say thank you to all the fans. The support was amazing. Even though we went out the tournament we still pulled in a full house.”

AN OVER OF STAT

Ball 1 – Sam Curran’s strike rate with the bat for Kings XI Punjab was 172.72 runs per 100 balls, which eclipsed all of his peers. Next best for the Kings XI were West Indians Nicholas Pooran (157.00) and Chris Gayle (153.60).

Ball 2 – Surrey’s leading run-maker in the Royal London One-Day Cup was Ben Foakes, with 328 at an average of 46.85. He was also Surrey’s top score – 82 against Essex. The Oval outfit were the only team that failed to produce a centurion in this year’s competition.

Ball 3 – Since swapping Chelmsford for the Oval four years ago, Ben Foakes has made 1,566 List A runs at an average of 50.51, including 15 half-centuries.

Ball 4 – Rikki Clarke’s absence for the Somerset game at Taunton (starting today) is a big blow for Surrey. Clarke has scored 1,129 runs and taken 74 wickets against the cidermen in first-class cricket. His f-c career bests with both bat and ball have also come against Somerset.

Ball 5 – Surrey have not elected to field first when winning the toss in the County Championship since the introduction of the uncontested toss rule, which gives the visiting team the option of inserting their opponents should it be to their advantage.

Ball 6 – Surrey have never lost a match at the Oval prior to which their opponents have exercised the uncontested toss rule – and they have only been defeated once in the six home games when this has occurred. In fact, they do rather well – all four of Surrey’s victories in such contests were by an innings.

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