England’s Curran has one eye on World Cup countdown
THE World Cup may be almost eight months away, but England seamer Tom Curran believes the countdown begins in Sri Lanka this week.
The 2019 tournament has been a long-term priority for the England and Wales Cricket Board and there are now just three oneday series to finalise four years of preparations.
This leaves a maximum of 15 matches for players, like Curran, who are still looking to cement a place in the ICC’s top-ranked side. The first of those takes place in Dambulla on Wednesday and the wider context is unavoidable for those involved.
“You try not to think too far ahead, but it’s hard not to think about the World Cup next year,” said the 23-year-old.
“It’s about taking small steps, concentrating on one game at a time, but with one small eye on the World Cup. It’s a great event for everyone involved.
“Now it’s about making it permanent so that I am one of the first bowlers on the teamsheet. That’s my goal and I’m trying hard for that.”
Curran did not feature in England’s warm-up victory over a Sri Lankan Board XI, but was pencilled in for a second tour match that was abandoned without a ball bowled due to thunderstorms in Colombo.
Violent downpours followed the tourists as they travelled to the island’s forest region and cabin fever could be a problem if conditions do not relent to allow the squad some middle practice in the next 48 hours.
“This is end-of-the -world type rain, nothing like the rain back home,” said Curran.
“It’s not ideal, but we flew over off the back of a full summer of playing, so we’re not short of game time.”
Curran has not played for his country since the New Zealand tour in March, with a side injury forcing his withdrawal from the limited-overs meetings against India on home soil.
He has played eight ODIs since his debut last year, with a fivewicket haul against Australia in Perth the clear highlight, but there is a queue forming for the final place in the bowling line-up.
Olly Stone, Liam Dawson and Curran’s younger brother Sam are all vying for the shirt, while Liam Plunkett is due to rejoin the squad for the last two games after being granted time off to get married.