Tom curran keeps flame alive

THIRTY six years ago, Zimbabwe’s cricketers announced their arrival at the ICC World Cup with a bang with a sensational 13-run win over Australia that made headlines across the globe.

England, the spiritual home of cricket, provided the setting for that great victory for the Chevrons.

The late Kevin Curran, who was only 24 back then, was part of those Chevrons – a genuine all-rounder who scored 27 runs and took a wicket at the cost of 38 runs.

On May 30, the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will roar into life in England.

But, for the first time since their debut show at the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Chevrons will miss the global cricket festival after they came short in the qualifiers held in this country last year.

A shock defeat at the hands of minnow, United Arab Emirates, in the final game of the qualifiers, before a capacity crowd at Harare Sports Club, crushed the Chevrons’ dreams.

However, while Curran is now late, after collapsing and dying while jogging in Mutare on October 10, 2012, the proud cricket family could still be represented at this year’s World Cup despite Zimbabwe missing the showcase in England.

It’s now almost certain that Tom Curran, who is also an all-rounder, will represent England at the World Cup.

The impressive all-rounder was the star for the England bowling attack with 4-75 in yesterday’s ODI match against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

The Asian giants reached 340-7.

Commentators were united that Curran had probably just done enough to seal his place in the England World Cup team after yesterday’s fine show for his country.

Tom was born in Cape Town but went to school in Zimbabwe at Springvale House and St George’s College before moving to settle in England.

He was once part of the Zimbabwe Under-13 national team.It was also at Trent Bridge, 36 years ago, where his father Kevin and his merry band of Chevrons, featuring at their first World Cup, stunned the globe by beating Australia.

The Aussies would bounce back to win the next World Cup in 1987.

“”Zimbabwe were not expected to cause any sleepless nights to Group B rivals Australia, India and the West Indies, even if the World Cup debutants had defeated Pakistan in a warm-up match,’’ Steven Pye, wrote for The Guardian.

‘’Reduced to 94/5 at lunch – Andy Pycroft twice faced hat-trick deliveries in the morning session – Zimbabwe’s first World Cup match appeared to be going as expected, until (Duncan) Fletcher played a captain’s innings to keep his side afloat.

‘’Putting on 70 with Kevin Curran and 75 with Iain Butchart, Fletcher’s undefeated 69 from 84 balls saw Zimbabwe post 239/8 from their 60 overs, meaning Australia needed to score at exactly four an over to open their campaign with a simple victory. But Fletcher wasn’t finished. ‘’Taking 4/42 with his medium pacers, the Zimbabwean captain reduced Australia to 133/4, and aided by an economical spell of off-spin by John Traicos (12-2-27-0), steadily the run-rate required increased. Despite a late burst from Rod Marsh, amazingly Australia would end up 13 runs short of their target.’’

Kevin, who also featured for Zimbabwe at the World Cup in 1987, became national team coach between August 2005 and September 2007. At the time of his shock death, he was head of the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy.

His romance with the Chevrons started at Independence when he featured in an ODI against Australia on October 30, that year, and also had successful stints with English county sides Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

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