It has been talked about for a while, and now it’s official – Haseeb Hameed has completed a stunning breakthrough summer of 2016 with selection in the England squad for the Test tour to Bangladesh this autumn.
This time last year, Hameed had only just made his first-class debut for Lancashire; only just received his A-level results from Bolton School; had still to turn 19.
A few months later, he was devastated to be omitted from the England squad for the ICC Under-19 World Cup.
Yet now he is looking forward to boarding a plane for Dhaka with Alastair Cook, Jimmy Anderson, Joe Root and the rest of England’s established stars, with the chance to stake his claim to be Cook’s next Test opening partner.
If he does make his Test debut in Bangladesh, Hameed would become England’s youngest player since Ben Hollioake in 1997, and the fifth-youngest in history. He’s no stranger to making history, having become the first Lancashire player of any age to score a century in each innings of a Roses Match this summer, as well as the youngest in the post-War era to be awarded a Lancashire county cap. But he admits that receiving an England cap would be the icing on the cake.
ECB.co.uk grabbed a few words with Hameed before his selection, to find out a little more about the new kid on the block – a suitable description for a youngster whose old-fashioned approach to crease occupation has earned him the nickname the Bolton Blocker.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
That’s an easy one for me - my dad. He’s been my coach and mentor throughout – and he still is.
Who were your cricketing heroes?
Growing up it was Sachin Tendulkar. More recently I’d say my modern day heroes are Virat Kohli and Joe Root.
How would you describe your approach to batting?
A lot of people recently have said I’m not your typical modern day player. If you look at the size of me I’m not a basher of the ball. I concentrate more on timing, patience, spending time at the crease, so that’s probably what makes me stand out.
What has been the key to your success this season?
I think my game’s built around having strong basics and a good technique. I’ve worked a lot on building that over the years. Things like having good judgement outside off stump – for an opening batter that’s pretty key, against the new ball. Knowing what shots I want to play - and which ones I don’t - early in the innings, and as we go on expanding more.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The Yorkshire game here. Being able to score the two hundreds in the two innings, and passing a thousand runs as well - so that was a pretty special game for me.
What can you do to improve?
I’d like to get a little bit bigger - so beef up in the gym maybe so then I can hit the ball a bit further.
What are your cricketing goals?
To play for England for a long time, to be part of Ashes-winning sides - and to win the World Cup.