August 13, 2021
The opener is awkward and unspectacular but often effective as he demonstrated with a battling 49 against India at Lord’s
Rory Burns endures to aid England while Hameed suffers | Jonathan Liew
As England’s openers walked out to bat at Lord’s on the second afternoon, a ghostly figure took his seat on the balcony to watch them. Half in light, half in shadow, Haseeb Hameed perched in the doorway of the dressing room and patiently waited for a chance that has been almost five years in the making.
Hameed is 24 years old, England’s incumbent No 3 batsman, a player of immense promise and potential, and yet ever since his Test debut in India in late 2016 his career has largely been conceived in terms of loss. In a parallel universe, in the world of romantic imagination, he does not break his thumb and lose his place. He does not return to Lancashire and spend the next two seasons mislaying all concept of his off stump. He does not spoil or ruin or succumb to paralysis and self-doubt. Instead, he nails down one of the toughest jobs in international cricket: opening the batting for England in the post-Alastair Cook era. Of course he errs and struggles, as England err and struggle, but along the way he also repays a little faith. He scores a gutsy, heartwarming century in the 2019 Ashes. He hits an emotional ton at Lord’s against the future world champions. He makes runs on the baked earth of South Africa, the warm soil of the Caribbean, the green pastures of New Zealand. By mid-2021, he’s faced and survived more balls than any opener in the world since his debut.
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