Surrey’s Sam Curran on why he turned down IPL chance

It has been a frustrating winter for Surrey’s Curran brothers, with both Sam and Tom sidelined since the end of last season with back injuries.

But there is light and the end of the tunnel – at last – for Sam after turning down another stint in the Indian Premier League.

The 23-year-old England all-rounder says he was tempted to link up with the Chennai Super Kings again, but concluded the risk of an even longer spell out of the game outweighed the benefits of playing alongside and against some of the biggest names in world cricket.

“I was gutted not to go to the IPL,” said Curran junior. “It was hard to take, but it was the sensible thing to do – to concentrate on playing for Surrey and getting back ready to play some red-ball cricket, which is something I haven’t done for a while with Surrey.

“I probably could have gone to the IPL, but the advice was for my back to heal properly. If I had gone and got injured I would have been angry at myself, and it would have been a question of rolling the dice.

“But you learn so much from all the players there, guys who have played at that level for a long time. I certainly felt my game has improved from playing in the IPL.

“When you go down to breakfast, you’re chatting with all these super stars and you’re constantly learning how to play in sub-continent conditions. When you play against the best you’re always being challenged.

“I’m gutted not to be out there, but I’m really excited about the county season because we’ve got a good vibe going at Surrey. With Gareth Batty taking over as head coach and Azhar Mahmood as bowling coach everyone’s getting along.

“I’m back bowling now but it’s about finding the right time and not coming back too early. It’s the first time I’ve had a back injury, so I’m taking a lot of advice from people who have had the same injury.

“Even though I’m feeling strong and I’m feeling good, it’s a question of not overdoing it because when I’m in the battle I’m often guilty of getting too aggressive and too competitive and I sometimes forget about my body.

“The break has given me the opportunity to spend a bit of time away from the game. I haven’t stopped for six years, since leaving school really. It’s also given me the time to work on my technique.

“The time away also makes you reflect. I feel like I’ve done some really good work. I’ve made some changes, but now it’s all about proving I’m fit and proving I’m strong and, hopefully, getting back into the England team.”

SURREY v SOMERSET probable line-ups

Burns (capt), Patel, Amla, Pope, Foakes (wk), Smith, Jacks, S Curran, Clark, J Overton, Taylor.

Green, Lammonby, Renshaw, Hildreth, Abell (capt), Davies (wk), Gregory, van der Merwe, C Overton, Siddle, Leach.

Jamie Overton (Surrey) – Since swapping Taunton for South London at the end of 2020, it has taken a while for him to prove that his strongest suit is with the ball. But his 5-54 and 3-53 in last weekend’s victory over Hampshire was a truly stellar display of fast bowling.

Craig Overton (Somerset) – the West Countrymen’s leading wicket-taker in last year’s championship, he has already bagged 13 at a miserly 6.69 runs apiece this term, giving a nudge to those England selectors who probably feel he didn’t quite cut the mustard in the recent West Indies Test series.

Although Somerset have started with back-to-back championship losses, they came close to pulling off an incredible victory against Essex who, needing just 84 to win, scraped home with their last two batters at the crease to triumph by one wicket last weekend. Surrey are the new leaders in Division One, deposing Hampshire, whom they dismantled inside three days by an innings and 17 runs.

Surrey have started their County Championship campaign with two first innings totals in excess of 400 for the first time in 20 years. In 2002, they laid the foundations for a third title in the space of four seasons by opening with 575-8d v Sussex at the Oval and 510 v Yorkshire at Headingley.

Jamie Overton was a giant against Hampshire, leading a Surrey attack that was a bowler light for the most part. Not that it was evident.

There were many, but the ball Overton produced to bowl Liam Dawson in Hampshire’s first innings would have done for the best in the world.

April 21-24: Surrey v Somerset at the Kia Oval (County Championship)
April 28-May 1: Gloucestershire v Surrey at Bristol (County Championship)

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