England v South Africa: Sam Curran hoping to make name for himself in Headingley ODI decider

SAM CURRAN is hopeful of filling the gap vacated by Ben Stokes in the England middle-order following the Test skipper’s retirement from one-day international cricket.

Stokes made his surprise exit from the 50-over game earlier this week after deciding that he could no longer perform at his peak across all three formats at international level, the schedule demands becoming too great on his body.

His retirement quickly following that of World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan leaves a big hole in England’s batting, but Curran could yet prove part of the answer to helping fill the gap.

“I’ve always looked up to Stokesy as a cricketer. I almost want to try to copy him,” Curran said. “He’s obviously a huge loss and the boys are going to miss him but any time I’m playing I don’t want to look too far ahead.

England's Sam Curran Picture: Adam Davy/PA.

“Just want to contribute when I’m batting and bowling. I wouldn’t say it has changed much for me personally, just every time I get the opportunity I want to make sure I’m contributing.”

The Surrey all-rounder hit a crucial 35 from 18 balls as England sealed a 118-run victory in the second ODI against South Africa to level the three-match series and set up a series-decider at Headingley on Sunday.

Curran then followed it up with a big wicket as the Proteas slumped to 27 for five in their – eventually unsuccessful – chase, although the 24-year-old insisted he will not put too much pressure on himself trying to fill the void left by Stokes.

“I think it’s natural (to want to fill the role) but if you look at the line-up now it is pretty strong,” he said. “Like I said, if that is the case I’ll try to do it. But I’m not one to put too much pressure on myself.

England's Ben Stokes leaves the pitch after being after being dismissed during the first ODI against South Africa at Chester-le-Street. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA.

“I’ve always tried to follow the way he trains and the way he plays. Obviously, he’s retired from one-day cricket now but he’ll go down as one of the greats for England. But always I try to be positive. That’s the message Jos has said to me and the team.”