‘He’s open about his downfalls’: England youngster reveals words from Virat Kohli which reignited his ‘dreams’
In the year 2016, when England toured India for a four-Test series, young Haseeb Hameed was spoken of as the next big thing in England cricket. He was this conventional batsman that many believed had what it takes to follow the likes of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in the pantheons of England’s cricketing greats.
Hameed played three Tests, in which he scored two impressive half-centuries. Hameed, then 19, scored 82 in his first Test and followed it with another gutsy half-century in Mohali. During the series, he caught the attention of Virat Kohli, who said this about the youngster: “You can sense it as a captain. This guy is intelligent. He’s definitely going to be a star in all forms if he keeps persisting with his skill.”
However, since that tour, Haseeb has fallen down the pecking order, rather drastically. In 30 First Class matches since the Test match in Mohali, Hameed has only scored three half-centuries from 48 innings. Today, he is nowhere close to playing for England but has kept his hopes alive of making it back to the Test squad.
In the last three years, Hameed has gone through several highs and lows in his cricketing life, including being released by Lancashire, for whom he emerged as this ‘wonder kid’, but the one thing that has kept his England dreams alive all this while are Kohli’s words, which he received in 2016.
“For Virat to come out and say that, gives you a lot of confidence. He’s a massive inspiration because he’s so open about the downfalls he’s had in his own career,” Hameed was quoted as saying by The Daily Mail.
“He speaks a lot, opening up about his pre-fitness days and how his diet wasn’t as good as it should have been, his late nights. He’s a great one for showing what can be achieved if you put your mind to it.”
Having said that, Hameed reveals it’s been tough for him to deal with the downward spiral his career underwent. From being dubbed as the next Boycott/Cook to falling out of reckoning, Hameed believes can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean he is throwing in the towel just yet.
Hameed, 23, was snapped up by Nottinghamshire where he’s having a fun time and given he can make the most of his next opportunities, the chances of playing for the Three Lions may not be too far down the line.
“I’d say it was very tough. Look at it from a logical point of view - for someone to have had the success I had to then have the experiences that followed hit quite hard. But one thing I’ve prided myself on from a young age is that my best years come after my worst years,” Hameed continued.
“That tells me I’ve got something deep down that won’t let me stop. Of course you have doubts - but I didn’t think about walking away from the game. That’s when you need something within you to stop you giving in, and try one more time. That mental resilience has been quite important for me.
“That ambition (of playing for England) will always be there and my memories of why I started playing the game are of having those dreams very early on. They pushed me to go that extra mile.”
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