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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kevin Curran passes away at 53

It was sad to read about the death of Kevin Curran.   It is reported that Curran, who had been coaching the Zimbabwean franchise Mashonaland Eagles, collapsed while jogging in Mutare on Wednesday morning [10.10.12]. The exact cause of death is yet to be determined.  Sad and shocking because he was only 53 – he was passionate about Cricket, fit, sharp and agile and known as epitome of health devoting lot of attention to fitness. 

Remember him for two reasons – one saw his fielding prowess at Chepauk way back in 1987, when he stood at short cover and stopped more than couple of full-blooded drives of Geoff Marsh and
Alan Border.  Two, remember him as part of the team that provided a great shock to the powerful Aussies led by Kim Hughes,  consisting of Rodney Marsh, Geoff Lawson, Rodney Hogg, Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillee. 

He played in only 11 One dayers –scoring 287 runs and taking 9 wickets but was immensely talented.  Apart from playing for Zimbabwe, this right-arm fast medium bowler and middle order batsman was one of the most effective overseas players in English cricket in the decade from the mid 1980s, scoring 1000 runs in a season five times. He first played for Zimbabwe in 1980, toured Sri Lanka (twice) and England with them, and played in the 1983 and 1987 World Cups - but by the time Zimbabwe gained Test status he had almost completed his 10-year qualification for English residency and was not tempted back.

For sometime he coached Namibia before returning to Harare to coach Zimbabwe replacing Phil Simmons till 2007. Curran was the coach of the Mash Eagles team when he died at the age of 53, after collapsing while jogging in Mutare. Mashonaland Eagles team  were preparing for their T20 fixture against Mountaineers on Wednesday, which has now been postponed. John Traicos, the former Zimbabwe offspinner and a former captain of Curran, was "shocked" to hear the news, which was delivered to him by Duncan Fletcher, another former captain of Zimbabwe and currently the India coach.

Kevin Curran made his international debut in the 1983 World Cup, when Zimbabwe beat Australia by 13 runs atTrent Bridge.  Before mentioning that in the match I saw at Chepauk Stadium, Madras on 13th Oct 1987, 25 years ago – it was 6th Match, Group A in  Reliance World Cup as Australia played Zimbabwe. Alan Border won the toss and Boon was soon back caught behind of Curran; he was electrifying on the ground at short cover, chasing balls like a hare and stopping full-blooded cover drives.  Geoff Marsh made 62; Border 67 as Aussie made 237/9 in their allotted 50 overs.  Curran had 8-0-29-2.  Zimbabwe tumbled to Simon O Donnel and Curran was the 7th man out at 97 having made 30 with 3 sixers.

On 9th June 1983  when Curran debuted alongwith the Nation Zimbabwe, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham – it was a match, which Australians would love to forget.  Batting first the minnows made 239;  Curran made 27 – it was the present Indian Coach – Duncan Fletcher captaining them – made 69 off 84 balls.  Those were 60 overs aside;  the situation and the game was played  was much different than what you comprehend from present day T20.   Dennis Lillee had figures of 12-1-47-2 and Jeoff Thomson 11-1-46-0.

Chasing 240 in 360 deliveries,  Australians crawled making 226 for 7 in 60 overs at rate of 3.76 runs per over !   Traicos, the offie had figures of 12-2-27-0.

The man who is having a terrible time as Indian coach was the man of the Match.  Interestingly, Duncan Fletcher is credited of the system of car registration system in Zimbabwe, allowing police to spot false number plates.  When England won Ashes in  2005 he was awarded British citizenship.   There were many failures subsequently, a dismal World Cup 2011 campaign ensured his finish – but then there was India to sign him as a high profile coach, , succeeding Gary Kirsten.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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