Hameed hands selectors a nudge
Paul Edwards explains how one England hopeful may have just handed a Test lifeline to another
Dan Lawrence is a fine young batsman who has been tipped to play for England quite soon. But he may already have affected the course of an Ashes series prior to receiving his first Test call.
For the tough one-handed chance he grassed early on Wednesday morning allowed the reprieved Haseeb Hameed to play the patient innings which suggested the 20-year-old Lancashire batsman was returning to his impressive best just in time to book his place on the plane to Australia this winter.
What was particularly impressive about Hameed’s unbeaten 85 on Wednesday was his ability to defy the Essex attack in very bowler-friendly conditions during the first half of the day and his capacity to play in a more attacking mode after tea.
“It is great to see Haseeb still batting,” said Lancashire’s assistant coach, Mark Chilton, that evening. “Clearly you can see more confidence in his play and his body language and that comes with runs. When you’ve not had a run of scores, your confidence is challenged but for him to bat a length of time today shows his game is in reasonable order.”
Hameed’s innings against Essex ended a dismal run of 16 championship innings in which he had scored only 333 runs and was averaging 23.78. It also marked a return to the tranquil inningsbuilding which had served him so well last summer and when he made his Test debut.
“You saw towards the end of Haseeb’s innings how his scoring options do increase and in an ideal world he’s going to bring that into his innings earlier,” said Chilton. “People have different methods and his method is to absorb the pressure and hopefully become more fluent.”
Yet however pleasing that sight was for the thoughtful coach, he knows that Hameed’s innings may not be enough to win the crucial match against Essex.
“Haseeb’s been fairly positive throughout the whole season,” he said. “He’s 20 years old and cricket is a tough game. He’s been through a period that has challenged him but he will be a stronger person and player for it. What we saw in the last hour and a half today was the Has we saw last year.”
In fine nick: Haseeb Hameed