Curran has taken his exclusion well: Root

Curran has taken his exclusion well: Root

Sam Curran

Exciting youngster Sam Curran, who won a man of the match award on debut in the opening Test, was forced to make way for Ben Stokes in the third game but England skipper Joe Root said the southpaw has taken the exclusion positively in his stride.

Curran didn’t do badly in the second Test at Lord’s too but England couldn’t risk leaving a world-class all-rounder like Stokes warming the benches in a match where a win will help them retain the Pataudi Trophy.

“It’s probably one of the most difficult selections I’ve had to make as captain,” said Root at the pre-match press conference on Friday. “The difficult part is the fact that everyone is performing so well. He (Curran) has 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. He took it really well. It is easier to take when you’re performing extremely well. He took it very maturely for a young guy who is desperate to play.”

Root also defended Stokes’ inclusion despite some former cricketers thinking otherwise. “That was a decision made above our heads. He has been made available for selection. From that point on it was about if he is good enough to play for England. He has been a fine performer for us for a long period of time. 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 and I can see him putting in just as he always does and he has the ability to change the game. Hopefully that can be the case this week.