Rookie pace bowler Currie catches Hampshire skipper’s eye in the best way possible
The best way for an academy upstart to catch the eye of the club captain is to knock over his stumps in the nets.
Scott Currie, 19, has done just that to James Vince – and is now a key member of Hampshire’s fast bowling squad going into the new domestic season.
‘It is a great way to audition and stake a claim,’ Currie said. ‘He is our best batter so if you can cause him some trouble then he’ll take note.
‘I have got him out once. I bowled him through the gate. It was kind of anti-climactic as he spends most of the time hammering you everywhere, but it was nice to get one through him.
‘I got a nod of approval with a kind of ‘well bowled youngster, now go back and do it again’ type thing.
‘I was put in a group with Vince and Dawson and it really helps to be rubbing shoulders with them – it helps to upskill you, although it is sometimes pretty humbling bowling to him and Daws.
‘It is also nice to be talking with them, bouncing ideas off them and watching them go about their business.’
Currie was due to be embedded as a net bowler for the Ireland squad, ahead of their three-match Royal London Series against England at The Ageas Bowl.
But due to the uncertainty around the availability of Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards and Brad Wheal, as a result of their overseas locations, Currie has been asked to remain with the Hampshire training camp, and is heavily in their plans when the campaign gets underway on August 1.
Currie said: ‘I think it makes more sense to stay around the squad now there is more of a concrete plan to fixtures and training.
‘That allows me to learn the trade rather than be kind of out of the way and forgotten about with Ireland.
‘I'd rather be in the position I am now around Hampshire and hopefully stake my claim to play for Hampshire.
‘Without a doubt, it is a confidence booster. The chats I’ve had with Giles and Adi [Giles White and Adi Birrell] help us youngsters know where they stand and that we’re not just there to fill the numbers - we are seen as genuine prospects for the future.
‘We’ll have to wait our turn and support the senior bowlers in any way that we can.
‘If one of them does, unfortunately, go down and engineers a chance then we will all be raring to go.’
It is a far cry from just over 12 months ago, when Currie missed the start of the 2019 season with a stress fracture in his back.
But his hard work in rehab has paid off, with the wiry 6ft 5in seamer returning to win a Second XI Championship with Hampshire and represent England in the Under-19 World Cup.
He took seven wickets in four 2nd XI Championship games for Hampshire before making his England under-19 debut last December in the Caribbean against the West Indies.
‘It was unlike any season I had had before,’ said Currie. ‘It was my first serious injury. It was bizarre to have four or five months out of the game.
‘I had put a possible call-up out of my mind and came back into the second team at Hampshire and did alright.
‘It was a massive surprise to be selected for the World Cup, because of the injury I had missed the summer series against India and Bangladesh. I thought they had a settled side.’
During the competition in South Africa, Currie claimed seven wickets in four matches and boasted England’s best strike-rate.
Jon Lewis’ side were knocked out in the group stage but bounced back to win the plate final against Sri Lanka. The whole experience left Currie in awe.
‘It is simple things like singing the national anthem, wearing an England shirt and being in that bubble,’ Poole-born Currie said.
‘I think it prepares you for professional cricket and, further forward, international cricket.
‘It was remarkable at times when you are sat next to batting coach Ian Bell on the bus. It is a bit surreal, like you’ve seen this guy on TV and seen him score hundreds.
‘Nic Pothas was the fielding coach so it was nice to reminisce about his Hampshire days with him.’
Hampshire have traditionally struggled to produce homegrown fast bowling talents – with James Tomlinson, James Bruce, Chris Tremlett, David Griffiths and Chris Wood the only seamers to graduate from the academy to become first-team regulars in the past 20 years.
However, Currie notes Ajeet Dale, Tom Scriven and himself are all well placed to turn the tide.
‘I think it is just one of those things where you can get quite lucky,” Currie said.
‘Now we’ve got three homegrown seamers coming through the ranks. It is the nature of certain intakes.
‘Tommo [player development manager Tomlinson] can have a big impact on Hampshire bowling going forward.
‘He is always at the other end of the phone and you can always drop him a message to ask him what he thinks about things. He is brilliant for me.’
The need for Currie, Dale and Scriven to pay out on their talents is possibly more pressing than usual, with frontline seamers Edwards, Abbott and Keith Barker all aged 33 or over.
‘Players like Abbo and Fidel have been great for Hampshire but they can’t be around forever,’ Currie said.
‘It is good that we can aspire to be similar to them but also whilst they are still around to get as much out of them as possible.
‘It has been brilliant to have all that experience in the fast bowling department, especially as a young fast bowler.’
Currie boasts an economical bowling action, which was clocked over 80mph during the World Cup, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Australian legend Glenn McGrath.
‘I remember watching Glenn McGrath at Lord’s during the 2005 Ashes so vividly,’ said Currie, who played for Portsmouth FC’s academy until he was released aged 15.
‘I was in awe of what he was doing that day and in my four-year-old mind that was the perfect action.
‘It was so economical, so smooth, and he was getting people like Andrew Flintoff out without looking like he was trying.
‘Now I’ve been able to look more into his action. He is someone I look up to, not just the cricket stuff but also the stuff he has dealt with off the field.
‘It would be wrong to compare myself to him but I definitely look up to him. He’s been a big source of inspiration.’
Currie’s first game since February 3 could come next week when Hampshire travel to Hove for a two-day friendly (July 27/28) ahead of the start of the county cricket season on Saturday, August 1.