BOLTON batting ace Haseeb Hameed has described his introduction to Test cricket with England as “unbelievable”, but insists it is just the start for him.
Hameed, formerly of Tonge and Farnworth Social Circle, debuted for England against India in November, scoring 219 runs in three Tests with two fifties and a top score of 82.
Unfortunately, the opener broke his left little finger, meaning he had to sit out the final two Tests.
But he is hoping to be fit for an England Lions tour to Sri Lanka next month.
“There are a lot of people saying very good things, but I hope they save a bit of praise for the future because I see it as very much the start,” he said.
“I got asked in another interview whether I’ve achieved everything I wanted to, and I found it quite an interesting question because I’ve only played three Test matches.
“I’m hoping to play for a long, long time. Hopefully I’ve got a long career to look forward to.”
Hameed’s 82 came in the second innings of his debut Test at Rajkot, a venue in his parents’ home state before they moved to the Halliwell area of Bolton.
“I genuinely don’t think it’s sunk in yet, and I don’t want it to sink in,” he reflected whilst speaking at Emirates Old Trafford yesterday after being nominated for the British Ethnic Diversity Young Sportsperson of the Year award, to be presented in March.
“It’s been unbelievable, and it’s something I really enjoyed. But I don’t want to feel like it’s something I’ve achieved.
“It might seem the case for others, that I’ve achieved something very high. But this is what I’ve wanted to do. All I’m doing is achieving my goals. I’m not doing something I’ve not expected of myself.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted, to play for England at a young age. That’s what I’m doing now.”
Hameed’s injury opened the door for Durham’s Keaton Jennings to score a century on his debut at Mumbai last month.
And that means competition for places at the top of the order ahead of England’s summer series against South Africa will be fierce.
With that series not starting until early July, though, Hameed has eight County Championship matches available to push his case.
He is relishing that chance and will not worry about the pressure and scrutiny that is bound to come as a result.
“The way I see things is that there’s always pressure, regardless of whether there’s a series in July and you’re playing for Lancashire beforehand or whether you’re just playing for Lancashire,” he added.
“There’s always pressure from within yourself as much as anything – of setting yourself a certain standard you want to reach.
“That’s very much the case with me. I’m not going to think about external pressures.”
Hameed batted against tennis balls for the first time at Old Trafford yesterday as he tests out his finger injury. He hopes to up that to hard balls next week ahead of the Sri Lanka trip.