Haseeb Hameed repays a Mumbai bat-maker’s trust
Teenaged England opener Haseeb Hameed, who has made a big impression on debut, is conscious that he needs to keep his feet on the groundcricket Updated: Dec 09, 2016 22:51 IST
Teenaged England opener Haseeb Hameed’s special abilities are not restricted to the cricket pitch. He doesn’t need any reminding about each one of those who contributed in his journey to become an England Test cricketer.
When he first visited Mumbai in 2012 to train under coach Vidyadhar Paradkar, Haseeb got a bat made by bat-maker, M Ashraf Brothers, located at Marine Lines. Unfortunately, the boy didn’t have enough money to pay for it in full.
To his surprise, Aslam Chaudhary, the shop owner, didn’t hesitate to let Haseeb take the bat. “I was a total stranger to him. Me and my dad were surprised that Aslam uncle gave me the bat despite not being able to pay the full cost of the bat. It was great gesture and I can never forget it,” Haseeb recalled during a conversation with HT on the eve of the fourth Test.
Haseeb, sitting out the match after undergoing surgery for a finger fracture, said Chaudhary didn’t even follow-up on the outstanding payment.
“When we went back home (to Bolton), we tried to send the balance money across to him, but we didn’t have proper details of his,” he said. The bat approximately cost Rs 10,000.
However, when he returned to Mumbai in 2015 to train for a couple of months before leaving for England’s U-19 tri-series in Sri Lanka, Haseeb went to the M Ashraf Brothers shop to pay the dues.
“It was on my mind to make the full payment for the bat. My father too had reminded me about it. So, when I came back, I went to Aslam uncle’s shop and paid the remaining amount.”
Haseeb father Ismail faced immense financial constraints but still supported his three sons to play cricket from his modest income as a driving instructor in Bolton.
Haseeb made a good first impression in the Rajkot Test and then showed lot of guts with an unbeaten half-century in the third Test at Mohali despite a broken finger. However, his maturity at 19 has become the talk of the town.
He puts it down to his humble background and lessons learnt from his father’s struggles. “I have a very supportive family. It is also the discipline in day-to-day life, respect for coaches and staying humble. My dad often tells me to be aware of not getting too far ahead in your head. I have to be confident when it comes to cricket, but pride and arrogance is not a good thing.”
Haseeb also insists on staying level-headed despite the hype surrounding his impressive performances in the first three Tests. “It’s humbling to hear the praise from top cricketers. But I know I can’t get carried away with all this hype. The escalator can go up very quickly, but it can come down even faster.
“Every successful cricketer has experienced bad times, but they have recovered from it. This injury is a little setback in my career. I am still too young and learning the game.”