LONDON (AFP) – England all-rounder Sam Curran said on Tuesday he still hoped to play under India great MS Dhoni in the Indian Premier League (IPL) – and get one over older brother Tom – despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Curran, 21, was the most expensive England player in November’s initial IPL auction, being sold to the Chennai Super Kings, captained by Dhoni, for GBP590,000 (USD742,000) after a successful 2019 stint with the Kings XI Punjab.
Meanwhile the 25-year-old Tom, also of Surrey and England, was signed by the Rajasthan Royals.
But the spread of COVID-19 has led to the suspension of all major cricket worldwide.
This year’s IPL was meant to start on March 29 before being delayed until yesterday to coincide with the end of an initial Indian government lockdown.
But with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing on Tuesday an extension of the lockdown – the world’s biggest covering over 1.3 billion people – until May 3, there is no certainty about when, or indeed if, the 2020 IPL will take place.
“No-one knows,” Sam Curran told reporters in a conference call with Tom on Tuesday. “It (the IPL) might happen this year, it might be cancelled, but we have to follow the government guidelines.”
Chennai are one of the IPL’s most successful teams, having won the tournament three times before a dramatic one-run loss to Mumbai Indians in last year’s final.
“I was very excited to move franchises,” said Sam. “Chennai is a great franchise with all the big names and I can’t wait to play under MS Dhoni.
“Hopefully I will play against Tom, hit him everywhere and then hit his stumps.
“Dhoni exudes calm,” added Sam, who said only Virat Kohli, Dhoni’s successor as India captain, could rival him in terms of superstar status in cricket crazy India.
“Chennai is quite an older squad so there are quite a few legends who have made it in the game,” said Sam.
“Hopefully they will be looking to give tips to the younger players, so that’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Sam had been preparing for a “massive” three-month stint in Asia after being selected for England’s tour of Sri Lanka, which was abandoned before the start of the Test series.
Tom insisted, however, the lack of cricket was “nothing in the grand scheme of things” even though it was a “shock to the system”.
Sam added, “But you have to appreciate the time off is quite refreshing.
“Hopefully I’m not one of the players who has let themselves go and comes back for the county season 10kg too big.”
The lockdown has seen several England players involved in charity initiatives, with Sam having raised nearly GBP10,000 for Britain’s National Health Service, although he downplayed his efforts by saying “the smallest thing we can do is raise some money for the NHS”.
The Currans live separately from one another and Tom, asked if he was missing seeing Sam, replied, “Nah, nice break. Only joking, of course I’m missing the man.”
When cricket resumes the brothers, the sons of the late Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin Curran, hope to fulfil a “dream” by following their Surrey predecessors Adam and Ben Hollioake as siblings playing Test cricket in the same England side.
Sam has played 17 Tests to Tom’s two.
Right-arm seamer Tom said, “It would be amazing to play Tests with Sam, that’s definitely a huge ambition of ours.”
Sam added, “As Tom said, it’s a dream.
“Any game you play for England is obviously a great privilege but I think playing with your brother or a member of your family gives it that extra special feeling.”