England Captain Alastair Cook confirmed on Tuesday morning that 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed would be his opening partner for the first Test – a move that has widely been seen as a positive and exciting one.
Hameed becomes only the sixth teenager to play for England but his composure and nonchalant attitude towards representing his country, in what will undoubtedly be the biggest game of his fledgling career, has not gone unnoticed.
During an interview with Sky Sports News, he appeared calm and level-headed when discussing the prospects of facing the world’s number one test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin.
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“I’m 19, coming up against the best bowler in the world, the best team in the world – it will be a great challenge and either way it will be a great experience for me and I’m sure at the end of the tour I’ll be a better player either way," he said.
The teenage batter’s ability to eloquently articulate the challenge ahead of him in a controlled manner will be music to Cook’s ears as the captain will need all the help he can get if England are to produce something of a shock win against India.
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No doubt hearing his teenage prodigy declare his debut test as “an exciting challenge” and “nothing to be afraid of” will boost morale in the England camp ahead of what is widely seen to be Cook’s biggest challenge of his captaincy to date.
Hameed went on to say he was “delighted to get the call” and that he’s “looking forward to it.”
“I think it’s going to be an exciting series. We go into the series as underdogs and it’s probably the biggest challenge in cricket right now," he added.
For a teenager to show such insight and composure is rare, especially as he becomes one of only six teenagers to represent his country, in arguably the biggest game his national side have been involved in recent years.
Hameed continued: “We have prepared well the last couple of days and it’s time to crack on now. It’s important that we go in confident of our abilities as a side. We’ve done some very good stuff in recent times so if we stick to that I’m sure we will have a very good series.”
With Alastair Cook potentially stepping down as captain after the conclusion of the series, it is reassuring that if the professionalism and pragmatism shown by Hameed is anything to go by, the future of English cricket may not be something we should be concerned about.
Here is the squad in full:
India Squad: Gambhir, Vijay, Nair, Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Saha, Ashwin, Mishra, Jadeja, Sharma, Shami, Yadav, Pandya
England Squad: Cook, Ali, Ansari, Bairstow, Ball, Ballance, Batty, Broad, Buttler, Duckett, Finn, Hameed, Rashid, Root, Stokes, Woakes, Anderson (unavailable for 1st test)