Over the years, England have had players of South African and Pakistani descent — Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Adil Rasheed, Moeen Ali and the like — in the cricket squad. And a fair share of Indian origin players as well. Nasser Hussain, one of England’s finest batsman, went on to become the Test captain. He was followed by Samit Patel, Ravi Bopara, Mark Ramprakash and Monty Panesar.
The latest in that list is Haseeb Hameed, the 19-year-old batting sensation who has been included in the England squad for the five-Test series in India starting in Rajkot on November 9. Hameed, whose parents hail from Bharuch district in Gujarat, is touted as a future star. He could be the answer to England’s opening woes (a solid partner to Alastair Cook) provided he gives a good account of himself if named in the playing XI in India.
Hameed, who alongwith 22-year-old opener Ben Duckett have come into the national side this season, caught the England selectors’ attention after amassing more than 1,000 first-class runs in the 2016 domestic season. He became the youngest batsman to achieve that feat for Lancashire and the fifth youngest to score 1,000 runs in a county season.
Hameed’s patient, almost old-fashioned, batting style has been compared to England opening great, Geoff Boycott. However, in an interview with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Hameed revealed his idol is Sachin Tendulkar.
“Growing up, it was Sachin Tendulkar. More recently, I’d say my heroes are Virat Kohli and Joe Root,” Hameed was quoted in the ECB website.
Hameed played two warm-up games in Bangladesh, scoring a half-century against a BCB XI. He could make his debut in the second Test in Dhaka starting on October 28. If he doesn’t make it to the playing XI, then his debut could happen in India.
It would be an exciting time for Hameed if he does makes his Test debut in Rajkot, in the home state of his parents. The last England cricketer of Indian origin to make his Test debut in and against India was Panesar, in March 2006.
The author tweets at @rizviuzair