In August 2015, Haseeb Hameed was picking up his A level results from Bolton School and fifteen months later, on Wednesday 9th November 2016, he opened the batting for England against India in the first test match in Rajkot, scoring 31 runs in his debut and then followed it up with an even more resounding 82 in the second innings. He was Coined ‘Baby Boycott’ in the English domestic cricket. England fast bowler James Anderson claimed that Haseeb has a better technique as an opener than former English Test captain Alastair Cook.
Haseeb Hameed became England’s fifth youngest Test player and youngest ever opening batsman. When he marked his debut against India Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who were at the peak of their powers of bowling over sides in the turning conditions. But, the young batsman showed courage, grit and promise against the two great spinners. He became the talk of the town by the end of two Tests. The third saw an unfortunate incident as he got injured and was ruled out of the tour. Michael Atherton was the last Lancashire opener to play from England almost a decade and a half ago. Not only did Hameed overshadow Atherton, he also became the youngest batsmen to amass 1,129 runs for Lancashire averaged over 52 in the County Championship Division One.
Hameed impressed everyone from his teammates to Virat Kohli. He scored 219 runs in the six innings at an average of 43.80, But a succession of injuries and a baffling lack of form mean that he never came back to play Test cricket again for England. In 2018, Hameed averaged just 9.7 from 17 innings for Lancashire and he also found it difficult to make it to the first choice eleven for Lancashire as well then sacked, by the county.
After a ‘difficult’ departure from Lancashire, the opening batsman has found a new lease of life at Trent Bridge and has hopes of rekindling his England career. Moving away from the familiar surroundings of Old Trafford to a new environment could have been daunting for a young man who had played all of his cricket at one county. However, Haseeb was sure that in the long run the move away from Lancashire will turn out to be the right one and indeed it did. Haseeb Hameed has been enjoying a productive start to the season, averaging 56.25 and leading the Nottinghamshire batting averages with two fifties and two centuries already under his belt in the County Championship
Now, After almost five years in the wilderness, Haseeb Hameed is finally back in England’s Test squad to face New Zealand. He thanked India’s captain Virat Kohli as his words helped him to regain his place in England’s Test team. Virat Kohli had called him a “future star”. In an interview, Haseeb Hameed recalled Virat Kohli’s words back in 2016, claiming him to be a future star, mentioning it as a massive confidence booster and huge, given it came from a burgeoning name in world cricket. The right-handed batsman stated that Kohli is an inspiration for all those people, reminding them that they could achieve what they want if they put their minds in it alongside discipline. As for his temperament, Hameed remains confident that he has something deep down that won’t stop him.
Haseeb Hameed, is now looking to add to his three Test caps. A fluctuating career trajectory has taught Haseeb not to take anything for granted, or to imagine that the future is foretold. Instead he has embraced the now well-known philosophy of the top-level sportsman visualising the next game, focusing on his form.
By Paramdeep Rathee