HARARE – Sam Curran’s phenomenal performance to help England win the T20 World Cup is being cheered by family members back in Zimbabwe, the homeland of his father, and the glorious pace bowler’s place of upbringing.  

England won the T20 World Cup on Sunday for a second time after beating Pakistan by five wickets, with the 24-year-old left-arm seamer picking up three wickets in the final for 12 runs to restrict the Asian side to just 137-8 after 20 overs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in host nation Australia.

For his inspired four-over bowling spell, Curran was named man-of-the-match, and then voted the World Cup’s player-of-the-tournament.

While the extended family in Zimbabwe is overjoyed and proud of the England star’s heroics, they aren’t at all surprised by his astonishing fighting spirit.

Zimbabwean cricket administrator Kenyon Ziehl says his cousin Kevin Curran, the late national team player and later coach of the African team, “laid the foundation” for his three cricket-playing sons, including man-of-the-moment Sam.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder was known to encourage intense competition amongst his three sons in the different sports they played, which bred the competitive streak that shows in adulthood.

Commonly known in Zimbabwean cricket by his initials, the older Curran – who played 11 ODIs for the country between 1983 and 1987 and was an experienced coach at the time of his passing – collapsed while jogging in Zimbabwe’s third largest city of Mutare in 2012 just before a provincial match between his visiting team from Harare and the local side.

“KC would have been unbelievably proud of Sam,” Ziehl, who is also an ex-Zimbabwe rugby international, told SportsCast on Sunday.

“KC always instilled a sense of grit and determination in his boys to achieve the highest levels of success, which I believe Sam has and is achieving in his cricketing career. He has produced some brilliant performances for England, but I think this T20 tournament, plus winning the final, has really topped any past achievements. As a family, we are incredibly proud of who he is and what he has achieved on the world stage. His dedication and passion, plus hard work, is paying off. It’s richly deserved.”

The older Curran was Zimbabwe’s head coach between August 2005 and September 2007, following an earlier stint as one of Australian Geoff Marsh’s assistants.

His three sons are all gifted cricketers. Oldest and all-rounder Tom also plays for England, whilst the middle-born and batsman Ben, who turns out for Northamptonshire in England, has recently been playing in Zimbabwe’s domestic first-class season.

Ziehl, a former head of the national selection panel and ex-CEO of local franchise Midwest Rhinos, these days sits on the Zimbabwean board’s Cricket Committee.

He was very close to his late cousin, growing up together in Zimbabwe’s farming district of Rusape, and later witnessing the Curran boys’ highly competitive upbringing under their father’s guidance.

“Their dad was instrumental in the boys’ cricketing careers,” Ziehl, himself a former provincial cricketer, added. “KC certainly laid the foundation and platform for the boys.”

Pacer Sam was born in Northampton, England, when his father was playing for the County Championship side as an overseas professional.

The youngest of the brothers, Sam was initially raised in Zimbabwe on the family farm in Rusape, his father’s birthplace, in the same province but some 75-km to the town of older Curran’s sudden death a decade ago at the age of 53.

The three brothers attended Springvale House Preparatory School in Marondera, 74-km outside Harare, before proceeding to St George’s College in the Zimbabwean capital city, then other senior schools in South Africa and the UK.

Their grandfather, Kevin Curran Sr, was a flamboyant fly-half for the national rugby team a good many years ago, on top of being a very handy club and provincial cricketer.


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