Sam Curran 'shocked' at criticism of James Anderson after first Test

Tim Wigmore
·3-min read
Sam Curran of England bowls watched on by Azhar Ali of Pakistan during Day One of the 2nd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at The Ageas Bowl on August 13, 2020 in Southampton, England -  Getty Images Europe
Sam Curran of England bowls watched on by Azhar Ali of Pakistan during Day One of the 2nd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at The Ageas Bowl on August 13, 2020 in Southampton, England - Getty Images Europe

Sam Curran said that he was “shocked” by the criticism that James Anderson has received after Anderson’s two wickets helped England dominate a truncated first day of the second Test.

Pakistan, who won the toss and decided to bat, ended the day on 126-5 at the Ageas Bowl, with Anderson taking two wickets while England’s three other seamers claimed one apiece.

“I was pretty shocked with all the kind of stuff that was going on about him,” said Curran, who was selected for his second Test of the summer with Jofra Archer rested.

“He's obviously such a world-class bowler and I don't think anyone who doubts him is very sensible — because he proved again how world-class he is.”

Anderson’s two wickets took him to 592 in Test cricket, leaving him just eight away from becoming the first quick bowler, and just the fourth man ever, to 600 Test wickets. 

Curran, who dismissed Abid Ali for 60 in an impressive return to the side, also credited Anderson with helping him develop his swing bowling. 

“I think it helped having Jimmy out there today, there's a few spells where you just keep chatting to each other just keep it patient — very humid conditions, the ball probably started swinging a bit more as the day went on.

“I’m just enjoying having him around and trying to learn from him as well. He was there out there today, helping me through my spells and just picking his brains is obviously great for me. He showed his class and I'm sure he'll probably go on to get a five-fer and hopefully creep up to 600.” 

Curran said that England were happy with their day as they belied an indifferent start and a series of interruptions for rain and bad light — with thunder in the vicinity of the ground — to claim five Pakistani wickets.

“I thought we bowled really well as a group — everyone chipped in there,” he said. “It was a good day in general.” 

Curran, whose only previous Test this summer came in the second Test against the West Indies, admitted that it has been a challenge being involved in the bio-secure bubble as a squad player, rather than be released to play county cricket.

“It's a tricky situation when you don't play,” he said. “You don't get to go out and perform for your county. 

“You don't get selected and you back to your hotel room. Things like that is very different but we've got such a great squad at the minute we link together really nicely and the boys are lifting the guys that are not playing and keeping them involved.” 

Pakistan’s opener Abid said that Anderson remains a huge threat. 

“Anderson is one of the best in the world — a top-class bowler,” he said. “I took it as a challenge to play him.” 

With an uncertain forecast for the days ahead, England will target getting a substantial first innings lead to set up the possibility of winning even if substantial overs are lost in the game. “Hopefully we can push on and get ahead in the game,” Curran said. 

Humidity, and the expectation of swing, meant that England preferred Curran to Mark Wood, who has not been selected since the opening Test of the summer.