Hameed hands se­lec­tors a nudge

Paul Edwards ex­plains how one Eng­land hope­ful may have just handed a Test life­line to an­other

The Cricket Paper - - LIVE -

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.”

PIC­TURES: Getty Images

In fine nick: Haseeb Hameed

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