Former England skipper Nasser Hussain has said Ben Stokes should acknowledge Sam Curran’s disappointment after replacing the youngster in the playing eleven for the third England vs India Test.
Stokes was found not guilty on Tuesday in his affray trial. Consequently, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) recalled him for the upcoming game at Trent Bridge. But there is a feeling in some quarters that the presence of Stokes sends a poor message about appropriate behaviour for an England cricketer, regardless of the “not guilty” verdict.
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However, But England could not resist the temptation of including Stokes in the playing eleven and Curran had to pay the price.
Curran was one of the most standout performers and biggest positives for England in the first Test at Edgbaston. The 20-year old impressed with both bat and ball to earn the Man of the Match award as England beat India by 31 runs in a low-scoring thriller. In fact, it was his knock in the second innings that eventually made the difference in the game.
The left-arm allrounder proved his worth right from the time he came to the crease. He scored a crucial 24 in the first innings that helped the hosts recover from a middle-order collapse and post 287. He then impressed with the ball. India had begun their reply on a good note with Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay adding 50 runs. However, Curran dismissed both the openers and KL Rahul in quick succession to leave India reeling at 59 for 3. He went on to finish the innings with 4 wickets.
Then came his first fifty in Tests when England needed someone to hold firm after being reduced to 87 for 7.
The youngster scored 63 off just 65 balls to take his side to a competitive 180, thus setting India a target of 194. In reply, India were all out for 162 with Curran taking the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane.
And Hussain believes Curran did not deserve the axe.
“Sam Curran definitely didn’t deserve to be left out,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
“If I was Ben Stokes, and Ben really wants to change his ways, and have that sort of Ricky Ponting moment where he needs to do something about himself and his behaviour at times – if he thinks that, he needs to look at Sam Curran tomorrow morning and see a lad who’s been left out for no reason.
“A lad who was man of the match two games ago. And gave absolutely everything to put England 1-0 up at Edgbaston, and he’s not playing now.
“If ever there’s a moment, Ben needs to look at him. And say I was responsible for that, tomorrow when that first ball goes down, that’s exactly when,” he added.
Meanwhile, Stokes and his teammate Alex Hales, who was also out in Bristol last Autumn, could yet face punishment. ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission will start their own proceedings following the conclusion of criminal matters.