Teenaged opener has no England fears


Lancashire opener Haseeb Hameed is champing at the bit to get to Bangladesh and says the tour holds no fear for him either on or off the field.

Alex Hales decision to withdraw from the tour has flung the door wide open for the 19-year-old who has enjoyed a breakout season in the 2016 County Championship.

Hameed told M.E.N. Sport: “I have no concerns with going to Bangladesh.

“The fact the security guys have been out there and are happy to go ahead with the tour, I am happy to go.”

The young man from Bolton made his first class debut last season and has managed over 1,000 runs this season including four centuries and became the youngest player since World War Two to earn a county cap from Lancashire.

Hameed is confident he can make the step up to Test level after performing against international quality players.

The youngster said: “The thing that gives me confidence is I have been able to put in performances against good opposition this season and against international cricketers.

“That suggests to me that I can play at the next level.

“I have always been able to learn quickly and adapt when I have stepped up and I am sure this will be no different. Players like Alistair Cook and Joe Root started off playing international cricket at a young age and you see what they have been able to go on and do.

“The best players this country has produced tend to have started off at a young age.

“I don’t expect just to go in and play a few matches, I am hoping to have a long career with England, so if I can get early exposure to that level then it will stand me in good stead.

“Playing for England is something I have been working a long time for now and it has always been my dream. If it happens, it will be a great honour – especially to open the batting with an England legend in Cook.”

When speaking about Hameed England coach Trevor Bayliss wheeled out the old cliche ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ and the right-hander echoed that sentiment, while insisting he can cope with the pressure of Test cricket.

Hameed added: “There was pressure on me when I was opening the batting for Lancashire in Division One of the County Championship for the first time.

“And I am sure there were people with a few questions about a 19-year-old kid opening the batting in Division One.

“It is something I relish and enjoy.

“And it is nice to hear that people do recognize your performances irrespective of your age.

“It is pleasing and encouraging for not only myself but also for young players all over the country and for English cricket.”

Hameed has made a name for himself due to his patient style something borne out of thorough practice and also his slight frame.

The teenaged batsman continued: “We believe you have to have strong basics to excel in the game and then you can always adapt to other formats.

“While if you go the other way and try to knock the ball out of the park early doors then it is always harder to adapt to red ball cricket.

“Being an opening batsman, and growing up not being the strongest, I always had to rely on timing and patience and that is where it developed.

“I know a lot of people will put me down as a bit of a traditionalist, but I just try and stick to the things I do well and work on my basics.”