Haseeb Hameed’s homecoming to Gujarati roots as England opener

first_imgHaseeb Hameed, the 19-year-old England opener, who on Wednesday made his Test debut against India in Rajkot, came back home to Gujarat. Well, kind of. While his whole life has been spent in foreign shores, not many would know that the elegant right-hander has his roots in Gujarat. (Rajkot Test: Root, Moeen shine for England as India toil)Haseeb’s parents and family were there at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium to see their son make their debut against India. The youngster’s parents were born here and interestingly, his brother, Numan, got married in Gujarat few days back. (SCORECARD)Hameed was in the English squad during the tour of Bangladesh where he easily could have got a match but England persisted with Ben Duckett at the top and Gary Ballance in the middle order as the young boy was only running on-field to deliver drinks. However, Ballance’s poor form in Bangladesh prompted the English think-tank to give Hameed his maiden Test cap, which he received from former captain Mike Atherton.At 19 years and 297 days, Hameed became the youngest ever opener for England in Tests and the fifth youngest player ever to debut in the longest format for England, just one year and 148 days short of the record holder: Dennis Brian Close.The Lancashire opener had an impressive outing with the bat as he managed to score 31 off 82 balls before falling to Ravichandran Ashwin.England have failed to find a stable partner for Alastair Cook to open the innings after the retirement of  Andrew Strauss. Before Hammed, England tried nine different openers and they have all failed to cement a spot in the team in the long run. Hameed became Cook’s 10th opening partner in four years.advertisementWhile some might say that he was rushed, he has a strong case to defend himself. He was the fifth highest run-getter in the county season with 1198 runs at an average of 49.41 and he also beat Michael Atherton to become Lancashire’s youngest ever player to reach 1000 runs. Not only that, Hameed also has a very impressive record against his name as he became the first player to score a century on both the innings in a Lancashire vs. Yorkshire match.Making his debut in India, sharing the field with his idol Virat Kohli and then scoring a gritty 31 – things are falling in place for young Hameed. If he can continue to display the hunger for runs and elegance he has, England might just find their next Alastair Cook, who if you remember made his debut against India in Nagpur back in 2006 and the rest, as they say, is history. Hameed followed his first innings outing with a polished 82 in the second, which also happens to be the highest score by an England teenager since Jack Crawford against South Africa 110 years ago in 1906.Hameed’s presence at the top along with Cook is bound to give England plenty of assurance going forward against the number-one ranked Test side in the world. England have some pretty tough challenges coming up and Hameed’s resistance and patience could  be the key to his long-term success.last_img read more

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