London, July 3 : Stand-in England coach Graham Thorpe feels that all-rounder Sam Curran's stint with the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is the reason behind the 23-year-old making an impact for his country of late.
The left-arm pace bowler removed the entire Sri Lankan top- and middle-order in the second One-day International on July 1, returning figures of 5/48 as England won by eight wickets with seven overs to spare.
"I think it's (IPL) helped him enormously. Every environment Sam has gone into, he's shown that ability to compete and an ability to find a way of putting performances in. From that perspective, playing in the IPL has put him in high-pressured situations and pushed him," the former cricketer told ESPNcricinfo on Friday.
With the kind of form he is in, Curran could play a pivotal role for England in the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled in UAE later this year.
"His hitting ability with the bat was always there. I think that's progressed to a really good level. He's bowling at important times in the IPL, so he's put under pressure and challenged. At 23, he's getting some really good experiences." Curran's rise in England cricket has coincided with his performance for CSK in November, when the tournament was moved to UAE. With just three appearances across all three formats in the 2020 home season -- one Test each against West Indies and Pakistan, and an ODI against Australia - things were not going Curran's way, but 2021 has put the spotlight on him.
He has emerged as the top pick in each of England's white-ball series in South Africa, India and now on home soil, against Sri Lanka.
"When he comes back and plays with England, he's having to challenge for a place so he's being put under pressure there too. That's not a bad thing. One of his great personality traits is that he's a real competitor. We have seen that ever since he was a young lad, and his skill level is going up. For a 23-year-old it's a good place to be. We want him to keep getting better and better," said Thorpe.
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