When Streak caught the Currans young

Sam Curran’s top show against India took Heath Streak back in time when the youngster, along with brothers Tom and Ben, would accompany his father — the late Kevin Curran who played and coached Zimbabwe — to overseas tours.

Heath Streak with Kevin Curran (right) at a nets session in Bulawayo in 2005.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Decades have passed since the Currans moved out of Harare in 2004. The family, however, is still fondly remembered by the cricket connoisseurs in the Zimbabwean capital city.

As the international cricket press has gone gaga over England’s new pacer Sam Curran’s success in the first Test against India, it has opened floodgates of memories for former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak. After all, he has seen the Curran brothers —Tom, Ben and Sam — from their early days.

“All the three brothers have been very competitive since childhood. All three used to play on the side of the field and they loved all sports — be it cricket, rugby, hockey or squash,” Streak tells Sportstar.

Read: India's tormentor Sam Curran showed early promise at Wellington

While Sam, the youngest, has got all the attention for his performance against India at Edgbaston, Tom, too, has featured for England in two Tests, eight ODIs and six T20s. Ben, meanwhile, plays for the Nottinghamshire second XI.

Streak remembers those days in the mid 2000s, when the Curran brothers would accompany their father and former Zimbabwe coach, the late Kevin Curran, to the team’s practice sessions. They would also come with their father for local tournaments. “I have seen all three as kids. While playing, they would challenge each other. They also came on a couple of tours when Kevin was the coaching staff of Zimbabwe. They were very young then,” Streak reminisces.

Streak recalls how their father, Kevin, would inspire the kids to take up the sport seriously. “Kevin was one of the most passionate and competitive guys you would come across in sport. He instilled that extreme competitiveness among his children,” Streak says.

Also read: Losing father as a teenager was ‘pretty tough’, admits Sam

Sam Curran tormented India with the bat with a well-compiled half-century in the first Test at Edgbaston.   -  Getty Images

 

Kevin, who featured in 11 ODIs for Zimbabwe from 1983 to 1987, later went on to coach the side. He died of a heart-attack in 2012. But Streak, who shared a good rapport with Kevin, remembers how he would ensure that the kids spent enough time on the field. “He pushed the boys to train hard and showed them how to put in hours in practice. That was probably one of the major things (the kids learnt from their father),” he reveals.

It was quite a walk down memory lane when Streak met Tom and his mother, Sara, during the Indian Premier League this year. Tom played for Kolkata Knight Riders, where Streak served as bowling coach. “It was good catching up. I worked on the bowling side (with Tom) and he shared a bit of childhood memories,” says Streak.

Streak hasn’t seen Sam that closely. But then, he has made it a point to keep an eye on his performance on the field. “He should keep on doing (what he is doing). He has got the passion and desire (to perform well). He is very competitive and is willing to work hard to become the best bowler in the world,” he says, quickly adding: “When you have got that attitude, as a coach, you can only expect one to only get better and better.”

Also read: Big brother Tom wants to make it two Currans in England side

Streak believes the departure of Currans (to England) was a big blow for Zimbabwe. “I am sure had they remained in Zimbabwe, possibly all three would have played for the country. It was a big loss to Zimbabwe when they moved to the UK, but they certainly have developed because of the English county system. They have played to their potential,” Streak reasons.

As the Curran brothers get ready for bigger challenges now, Streak hopes to see the ‘kids’ reach the top.