Sam Curran is yet to feature for England in The Ashes this summer – he’s been a victim of circumstance. Jofra Archer’s rise has been untimely and talk of improvement has been focused on the batsmen, rather than Curran’s fellow all-rounders or the bowlers – who have performed about as well as could be hoped. Despite more urgent change perhaps being needed elsewhere, there is an argument for Curran to be included at Old Trafford.
This is the case for Sam Curran. And before you ask – yes I have recently watched ‘A Few Good Men’.
Lawyer: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I am representing the plaintiff, Sam Curran. We are here today to decide if the defendant, the ECB, should select Mr Curran for the upcoming fourth Test against Australia at Old Trafford. My client has waited patiently for his opportunity in this Ashes series and we believe his time has come.
You may think this a strange time to alter the side – we won the last Test match after all. But I put it to you jurors that the victory that tied the series at 1-1 was down solely to one man – Ben Stokes.
ECB: Objection! There were ten other players who contributed!
*titters of amusement from the gallery and a raised eyebrow from the judge*
Lawyer: There are several members of the team that are simply not pulling their weight. But I’m not here today to talk about Mr Roy or Mr Buttler. Nor am I here to discuss whether Mr Bairstow should give up the gloves and focus on his batting.
No – I am here today to question the position of Mr Chris Woakes.
*gasps from the gallery*
Judge: *bangs gavel* Order! Order!
*murmuring eventually gives way to silence*
Lawyer: Now, we all know Mr Woakes is a fantastic bowler and a very competent batsman on his day, but I would question whether those days are behind him?
Lawyer: Ok, I’ll re-phrase. I believe Mr Woakes is not at his best. The toil and emotion of the World Cup has taken it out of him – I think he would benefit from time out of the team. He scored just six runs and picked up two wickets in the last Test match and Mr Root bowled him for a measly 22 overs. This is either because he can see he is tired or he doesn’t trust he is going to pick up wickets – I fear the latter.
ECB: Objection! These comments are defamatory – we did not come here to listen to a character assassination of a World Cup winner and key Test match player!
Judge: Yes, if we could perhaps focus on Mr Curran’s claim for a Test match position rather than arguing against Mr Woakes.
Lawyer: Very well. A year ago, my client Sam Curran scored 272 runs and took 11 wickets to be named man of the series in England’s 4-1 win over India, prompting him to become the youngest Englishman in over a century to be included in Wisden’s five cricketers of the year.
63 vital runs from only 65 balls & what a way to go to your maiden Test fifty.
Well batted Sam Curran – Game on @edgbaston
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 3, 2018
But I’m not here simply to regurgitate stats and achievements. Mr Woakes and Mr Curran are in fact remarkably similar when you look at the bare facts and figures – both average around 30 with bat and ball.
I am here instead to prove to you that Mr Curran has that something about him, that je ne sais quoi required to beat Australia and bring The Ashes home.
Now, you know what I mean when I talk about this x factor – you saw what Ben Stokes did at Headingley?
*nods and smiles of agreement from all jurors except a tanned bloke wearing thongs and a singlet who rolls his eyes*
If nothing else, Sam Curran offers significant variety to the England attack. His average pace today is 129kph, the slowest of any England bowler – but he’s averaging 2.85° swing, the most of anyone. #ENGvPAK
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) June 1, 2018
I am by no means saying that Mr Curran is at the same level of Stokes – because no-one is. But he has a similar character – the ability to make something happen from nowhere. He can change the momentum of a floundering innings with his fearless strokeplay and picks up vital wickets at key times. He gets more swing than anyone with the new ball and has that knack of picking up wickets when it becomes scuffed and worn.
I don’t mean to drag Mr Woakes into this again – but I would question whether he has that ability.
ECB: Objection – Your honour he can’t say he’s not going to slander someone and then do it anyway!
Judge: Sustained. Strike that last statement from the record.
Lawyer: Apologies your honour. What I mean is – my client has got something extra. A grimace on his face as he comes into bowl. A self-confidence rarely matched with bat in hand. And as we have seen the exuberance of youth often wins out over experience.
Where would we be in this series without Jofra Archer?
How would we have done if Kevin Pietersen had not replaced Graham Thorpe in 2005?
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, all my client is asking for is a chance. The chance to pull on that England shirt again – as he has done with such aplomb in the past. The chance to prove his worth to his team and his country. The chance to stick it to Australia and reclaim The Ashes for England!
*wild applause from the gallery and 11 of the 12 jurors*
Thank you for listening.
Judge: The court will now adjourn until Wednesday at 10am – at which time the jury will deliver their verdict.
Caffeine, naps, the carrot-and-stick principle and the strength of the pack…
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