Young Gun – Haseeb Hameed

He may still be only 18 years old but in his short career Haseeb Hameed has already made a habit of punching above his weight.

So when the Lancashire batsman says he has set his sights on breaking into the first team this season, it pays to sit up and take notice.

The youngster made his debut at his local club Farnworth Social Circle when only 14, appeared for the England Under-19 side at 16 and starred for the Lancashire 2nd XI at the end of last summer when he was still only 17.

Indeed, while Hameed has long been tipped for greatness by those inside the game, it was his ridiculously prolific form at the back end of the 2014 season that began to show the wider world what he is all about.

The Bolton School pupil ripped off scores of 92, 112, 97, 97 and 125 in six innings, mixing his time between the England Under-19s, who were playing South Africa, and the Lancashire 2nds.

And Hameed, who signed his maiden professional contract in October of last year having come through the academy at Old Trafford, admits that he is desperate to make an impact on the first team this season.

“I was delighted when I was offered the contract and obviously the next goal for me has to be to try and make that first-class debut,” he said.

“It would be really nice to get that experience, to see what it’s like at that level and hopefully that will happen this year.

“I would never say that I have found it easy jumping up levels, I have just got to keep working hard and take my chance when it comes.

“My dad always tells the story about me as a youngster, desperate to play with my two older brothers Safwaan and Nuanan.

“They would be going for a net and I would turn up wearing their ridiculously over-sized kit and demand to be allowed to play as well.”

Clearly Hameed is a quick learner who is not intimidated by playing with older teammates.

And with the likes of Ashwell Prince and Alviro Petersen almost double his age, there are plenty of experienced heads in the Red Rose batting line-up for the youngster to learn from.

But for the next five weeks, the majority of the sixth former’s learning is going to be taking place in the class room with A-Levels in PE and Economics to study for.

“It has been about finding a balance really,” added Hameed.

“For the next few weeks I will be working hard on my exams, Lancashire and my teachers have given me great support, as have my family.

“That’s because it’s vital to have something to fall back on, a cricket career can be very short.

“I will play a few 2nd XI games between now and the exams and then in June my season can start properly.

“I know how challenging it is going to be, there are some great players in this squad and it will take a great effort to get into the side, I just have to keep scoring runs and putting my hand up.”

Hameed has already seen plenty of action in 2015, as he was part of the England U19 side that toured Australia in April.

A rearguard 91 not out in the youth Test match earned the visitors a battling draw before they slipped to a 3-2 series defeat in the ODIs that followed.

And Hameed himself did not have the best time of it, scores of 10, 10, 0 and 2 in his four appearances one of the first set-backs in what has been a meteoric rise for the right-hander.

“It was a great learning experience,” admits the 18-year-old.

“Going into their back yard, when we had all only been playing in the nets all winter, was always going to be tough.

“I learned a great deal about my own game as well, starting off with the Test before then playing the ODI series was something I had never done and I struggled with that.

“I needed to back myself that little bit more, to do the things that I am good at, which is the basics.

“That’s what my whole game is built on.

“Obviously the conditions were different over there with real pace and bounce and that will be a great experience moving forward.”

Indeed it does not seem too much of a leap to imagine Hameed on an Ashes tour for real in the not too distant future.

“That’s the dream,” he added. “Every cricketer wants to play for England one day, that has always been my long-term ambition, it’s why I started playing the game.

“But the most important thing is to focus on the here and now and trying to prove myself at Lancashire.”

This article was published in The Cricket Paper, Mau 8 2015

Twitter – @TheCricketPaper

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *