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Dropping Sam Curran one of the most difficult selection decisions: Joe Root

“You don’t want to leave someone like Ben out," Root said.

Sam Curran
Sam Curran of England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

As the 3rd Test of the 5-match England vs India series gets underway at Nottingham today, the English team announced their line-up on the eve of the game. After Ben Stokes was declared “not guilty” on charges of affray the ECB immediately added him to the squad for the next Test. This gave the English captain Joe Root and the think tank a selection headache on how to accommodate Stokes in a XI. Chris Woakes who had replaced him at Lord’s picked up four wickets and scored a hundred to return as the Man of the Match.

Stokes, unsurprisingly, was included in the playing XI for the third Test, but in place of 20-year-old Sam Curran – the hero of Edgbaston, a call England captain Joe Root admitted it to be “one of the most difficult selections I’ve had to make as captain”. Not only was Curran a more than worthy understudy to James Anderson and Stuart Broad, his exploits with both bat and ball played a major role ensuring England won the first Test by 31 runs.

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Everyone is performing so well

“Sam misses out Ben comes into the side. The difficult part is the fact that everyone is performing so well. I think some people would see that as the easy option, to leave Sam out. But he’s offered so much to this bowling group – and at the start of the series I said to the team for us to win a five-match series against the best side in the world, it’s going to take ,more than just 11 players.” Root said on the eve of the match.

Praising Curran for his contributions, Root added, “It’s about us as a squad performing collectively for five games, and he’s played a massive part in the first two. It might be that he comes back in later on. On this occasion, he’s unfortunate to miss out. But what he’s done so far has been nothing short of high-class.”

Adil Rashid was one of the players whose place was under threat as he remained the only player from the middle and lower order who had absolutely no influence on the outcome of the second Test. However, he is the only spinner in the ranks and the team would definitely want to keep that option just in case the slower bowlers come into play anytime during the five-day affair.

After a stellar man of the match performance in the second Test, it was impossible to drop Woakes and playing Stokes instead of Curran would’ve meant England play with 5 specialist seamers, something that the think tank was not willing to sanction.

With Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope all justifying their places courtesy cameos in the second Test, Curran was the only player in the team that could’ve been rested. England thus have strengthened both their batting and bowling departments with two all-rounders in the XI.

Don’t want to leave someone like Ben out

On the direct inclusion of Stokes, Root said, “You don’t want to leave someone like Ben out. He offers so much to this group on and off the field. He is a big part of our team. I sat him down yesterday, just me and him, and asked him where he was at. He told me he’s desperate to get out there, wants to put in performances and concentrate on his cricket now.”

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