Curran gets England tri-series call-up

Woakes urges England to keep their foot on Australia’s throat

Vithushan Ehantharajah, Guardian News & Media Ltd, 2018
15:14 January 24, 2018

Adelaide: Sam Curran has been added to England’s Twenty20 squad for the tri-series with Australia and New Zealand. The 19-year-old Surrey all-rounder has been drafted in owing to the continued uncertainty around Ben Stokes’ availability and the fact that Joe Root will take a break.

Stokes, who was set to come out for the New Zealand leg of the series, is due to appear in court on an affray charge on 13 February. That date clashes with England’s game against New Zealand in Wellington which the England and Wales Cricket Board had earmarked for the 26-year-old’s international comeback.

Stokes confirmed via Twitter on Monday that he will not meet up with the squad until after his hearing: “As has been confirmed in the media a first hearing date at court has been set for 13th February. In the circumstances, I have decided it would not be right to join my teammates until after attending court.”

Stokes remains part of the England squad for the five ODIs and two Tests against New Zealand.

It is Curran’s maiden international call-up. A left-arm seamer and left-handed batsman, he has spent the winter in New Zealand, playing for the Auckland Aces in the domestic Super Smash T20 competition. Across nine matches, he scored 157 runs and took nine wickets, fulfilling his usual role at Surrey of batting in the middle order and opening the bowling.

He will join his brother, Tom, when he meets up with the squad in Perth this week.

Chris Woakes has said England are desperate to win the ODI series 5-0. Victory in the third ODI at Sydney by 16 runs gave the tourists their first bilateral ODI series win in Australia. Now, 3-0 up with two to play, Trevor Bayliss and Eoin Morgan have urged the team to push for a whitewash.

“You don’t come out to Australia and win too often,” Woakes said. “Once you’ve got your foot on the throat, you want to keep it down. Losing the Ashes was really disappointing but to make it 5-0 in the ODIs would be an incredible achievement.

“Both Trevor and Morgy mentioned it. We had discussions in the changing room, praising performances. But the end of the chat was making sure we’re on it and don’t let up. It has been a long tour for a few guys in the dressing room and we’ll be making sure we do what we can to make it 5-0.

“If the roles were reversed, Australia would be doing exactly the same. They’d be trying to make sure it was 5-0 and they’d be making it as uncomfortable for us as possible. This is international cricket and you have to be ruthless. If we want to improve and get to the 2019 World Cup in the best possible shape, we need to make sure when we’re on top, we stay on top.”

To achieve that, England will need to crash Friday’s Australia Day festivities in Adelaide. The hosts have won seven of nine ODIs against England at the venue. The opportunity to play party poopers is one Woakes is keen to embrace for the fourth ODI.

“That is a huge motivation. We’ll be trying to go out there on Australia Day and turn them over. To do that their own backyard is a very difficult thing to do. We want to make sure we do win 5-0.”