World Cup ‘buzz’ will fire up England for the Ashes – Sam Curran


England’s Test cricketers will be feeding off the “buzz” of a historic World Cup win as they prepare to try and regain the Ashes, according to Sam Curran. The Surrey allrounder is set to return to international duty in next week’s maiden Test against Ireland and he said the dramatic scenes at Lord’s on Sunday had set England up perfectly for the second half of the summer.

Curran missed out on World Cup selection, but did enjoy a productive first season at the IPL earlier this year. After a hamstring injury interrupted his return with Surrey, he has since played three Championship games as well as making an early impact on the touring Australians with England Lions – Curran claimed 6 for 95 in this week’s game at Canterbury, as well as making half-centuries in each innings.

Although Curran was left out of England’s most-recent Test XI in St Lucia, he was Man of the Series against India last summer and looks likely to return to face Ireland. The match at Lord’s, starting on Wednesday, will be England’s first four-day Test since the ICC approved the optional reduction in 2017.

“It’s obviously really exciting to be in the squad for the first Test of the summer,” Curran said. “It’s the first four-day Test for England and the first against Ireland which makes it a massive event for them and an awesome thing to be part of. It’s a slightly different England side to be in with a few of the big guns rested after the World Cup, but it’s a really exciting group and we are looking forward to linking up this weekend.

“I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it’s probably the greatest cricket match ever, and for that to be the World Cup final was incredible. That will provide a buzz for everyone across English cricket going into the Ashes, which is the biggest series an England player can be involved in in Tests, and this match against Ireland. Days like Sunday get everyone, whether they were involved or not, more excited and desperate to do well so I’m sure it will rub off as we head into the Test part of the summer.

“I watched the final with the Lions boys in Canterbury and the excitement was amazing. It was an incredible win and the boys have so worked hard. Having spoken to my brother and a few of the others I think they celebrated pretty hard as well.”

As well as his success against India, Curran played an important role with the bat in Sri Lanka last winter, helping to set England up for a 3-0 whitewash. Although his bowling was less successful in the Caribbean, he could play a pivotal role in the Ashes – his haul for the Lions, sparking an Australia collapse of 6 for 17, possibly a sign of things to come.

Curran is expected to play in the Vitality Blast for Surrey on Friday night before linking up with the Test squad, and said the “body felt good” after his recent injury.

“I feel really good going into the Ireland game,” he said. “It’s been quite a frustrating season really, I came back from the IPL, played my first Champo game and got injured, had a couple of weeks out. I’ve come back and felt good, putting in some decent performances with bat and ball. Confidence is really good, it’s just trying to contribute as much as I can. Hopefully I’m in the XI on Wednesday and I can put in a performance.

“Performing against India last summer has given me quite a lot of confidence. It’s a new challenge, a new summer. I can’t rely on that, I need to look ahead and find performances that will beat the Australians in the Ashes. The team is pretty exciting, there will be some great cricket played. I’m really excited to see what this summer holds.

“The first aim for the World Cup guys was to win that, and they’ve achieved that. But there’s another big test coming up, and the Ashes are the biggest thing you can play in as an England cricketer, that’s what I’ve always felt. Hopefully we can be lifting the Urn at the Oval in September. We have to take one game at a time and try to contribute as much as you can.”

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