“The first Man of the Match in the new Perth Stadium. Now that’s something that even destiny cannot steal away from him. His performances got stored safely in a manuscript that will be peered over centuries later, and when the history of the stadium is revisited, Curran’s name will always remain the first to be popped up”.
Sometimes, miracles and life-changing moments do not creep in with a hoarse cry and a loud blare that will pronounce your journey ahead as different. On most occasions, they swivel across when you least expect them to; an opportunity that knocks when you are busy making other schedules. All you have got to do then is, grasp them as strongly as you can manage because you never really know when the chance will present itself again.
“What a stadium, what a day and what a team to be part of.”
Tom Curran, who was lazing around on an off-season day in October, pumping up for his stint in the Big Bash League in December received an unexpected call that would fast-forward him into the national colours in one of the biggest cricket rivalries ever. Even though England had lost the Ashes series, he was thrust into the squad in the fourth Test match in Melbourne to help prevent the further tarnish of humiliation.
But his moment of reckoning well and truly arrived at a stadium that hardly had any history attached to it. The grand opening of the Perth Stadium, which was privy to 53,781 spectators, had anticipated a tightly contested game with the home side scripting the first entry in the victorious record books. Andrew Tye’s five-wicket haul and England’s total of 259 hardly stemmed up debates of a contest and just when the audience were warming up to a Sunday-night revelry, a 22-year old youngster changed the plot to suit his own.
A searing yorker, that surprised danger-man David Warner, unsettled his timber behind. A couple of reverse-swinging deliveries managed to scare off Glenn Maxwell, but he barely survived. However, in the 37th over, the Aussies did fall to the continued efforts of the Englishman, going back to the hut after a reverse-swing delivery crashed onto his top leg; reviews suggesting that it would further go on to hit the stumps.
Two deliveries later, he had Mitchell Starc to a fantastic delivery that tailed away late, allowing the batsman to edge it behind to the keeper. Conor McGregor’s Octagon walk that greeted his third wicket displayed hints of the Surrey swag that he possessed and when he bowled Adam Zampa with a big inswinger, the aeroplane celebration, made famous by Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar, remained occupied with a deafening roar that managed to deafen the horde of supporters all around.
What a night he was having! What a night England were having!
When he finally destroyed Tim Paine with a menacing inswinger that rushed past the batsman’s willow to the stumps behind, an unbiased cricket fan would not have been able to suppress that smile. For long, we desire to witness characters on the field- players who scream hard and perform harder. Players who show their passion towards their game and get excited in indefinable limits upon the first taste of success.
When England were struggling to exit a disastrous tour Down Under, their limited-overs squad managed to uplift them up. When the team needed a cricketer who would overtake the efforts of Tye to script a new history at the new stadium, the calm yet ferocious cricketer Curran set the stage on fire. With 5/35 in a nail-biting game, the youngster has come a long way from the afternoon in October, when he hardly knew where life would take him in the next few months.
He knew he would be in Australia displaying his antics in the BBL, but rarely would he have figured out that the country would hold something so very special for him. The first Man of the Match in the new Perth Stadium. Now that’s something that even destiny cannot steal away from him. His performances got stored safely in a manuscript that will be peered over centuries later, and when the history of the stadium is revisited, Curran’s name will always remain the first to be popped up.