BY MARCUS HOOK
Virat Kohli believes Surrey 20-year-old Sam Curran has been instrumental in England winning the Test series against India, which reaches its conclusion at the Oval this coming weekend.
Following his side’s 60-run defeat at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, the India captain said: “England have guys who are fearless down the order, they back their skills and are more confident about what they want to do in tough situations.”
Kohli, who came close to playing county cricket for Surrey back in June, added: “Those contributions lower down the order were significant in this Test and the one in Birmingham as well. I would like to congratulate Sam Curran. He has been a nice find for England.”
The tourists were seemingly in control at various stages of the fourth Test. In the first innings they reduced England to 6-86 before Sam Curran’s 78 lifted the hosts to a total of 246. In the second, Curran scored 46 to set India 245 to win.
Curran, who dragged England out of the mire in their second innings in the First Test at Birmingham, said: “I can’t believe what’s happening. I’m still taking it all in. But, obviously, it’s pretty special to contribute to the win. The main thing is that we’ve won the series.”
Curran, who was left out for the third Test, would now appear to be undroppable.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s just great to be playing. I love playing and every time I play I give my best. I’m just enjoying the occasion.
“Being 86-6 and managing to get 246 was a massive positive. The partnerships between me and Mo [Mooen Ali] and Broady [Stuart Broad] were crucial for us.”
But, with England’s top order continuing to wobble, it was the youngster’s positive intent with the bat which is refreshing.
“As I’ve said before, I’m just trying to play naturally, the way I’ve done for Surrey,” said Curran. “Luckily, a few have come out of the screws when, on another day, I’d probably edge them.
“I’m actually a pretty positive player. I’m generally trying to get to get those singles early on and get my feet moving with the aim of getting to 10 as quickly as possible.
“I felt there was a ball in that wicket that was going to get me out, so that’s why I was counter-attacking. I was just hoping I didn’t nick it.”
Yorkshire have signed Surrey paceman Mathew Pillans on a three-year deal. The South Africa-born 27-year-old will move to Headingley in October, after his Surrey contract expires.
Pillans has taken 129 wickets in 40 first-class matches, 16 in 12 one-day appearances and 35 in 34 T20 games.
“He’s a different type of bowler to what we’ve already got,” said Yorkshire’s director of cricket, Martyn Moxon.
“Mat has been at Surrey for a couple of years now, and he’s not had a huge amount of opportunity in the first team, so he’s looking to progress his career We’re obviously looking for that continuity of availability. He fits the bill for us.
“He’s a bowler who has pace and is tall. We’re looking forward to having him on board and I’m sure he’ll do well for us.
Pillans said: “Firstly I would like to thank Surrey for giving me such an incredible opportunity to come and play cricket here in the UK. It is something I will be eternally grateful for.
“Along with the opportunity to be involved here I got to learn and enhance my skills as a cricketer and for that I am extremely thankful.
“Secondly to the group of lads I’ve been privileged to share a change room with. And, finally, to the fans at Surrey.
“The Oval has a tremendous atmosphere and it’s credit to them that it all comes to life! I thoroughly enjoyed playing in front of some sell-out crowds. Thank you for all the support.”