Hameed Reflects On Notts Win
As performances go in Specsavers County Championship matches, scoring 18 runs off 99 balls in 144 minutes of steely defiance was never likely to win Haseeb Hameed any man-of-the-match award in Lancashire’s recent Division One match against Nottinghamshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
Yet for a 19-year-old who was playing in only his fifth first-class game it was still an important rite of passage in his development as a professional cricketer. After all he was facing Stuart Broad, the number one Test bowler in the world.
“I’ve probably not faced a higher-quality attack,” said Hameed. “You’ve got Broad, who’s number one at the moment, and when you add the other lads they have, it gives them a high quality seam attack.
“So I can take a lot of confidence from spending a lot of time at the crease against them. Mentally you have to be a lot more switched on because you don’t get the bad balls as often, so you have to stick to your game plans and be really disciplined. You have to make sure that they get bored before you do.”
The circumstances in which Hameed gritted it out added value to his innings. Having dismissed Nottinghamshire for 242 on the first day of the game, he and Lancashire’s No3, Luke Procter, had over 16 overs to face, most of them in floodlit murk, after Karl Brown had been leg before to Jake Ball for nought.
Broad and his colleagues could have created havoc in such circumstances but they enjoyed no further successes and the Lancashire pair built a foundation upon which a match-winning 90-run first innings lead could be chiselled out.
“They were challenging conditions and we had a difficult period in which to bat,” agreed Hameed. “We had to place the emphasis on myself and Luke Procter getting stuck in early on with the new ball to make sure that there was a platform there for the later batsmen.
“Luke’s good to bat with because he’s a left-hander and I batted with him quite a lot in second team cricket last year. It makes it difficult for the bowlers if you are rotating the strike.”
And there was another small triumph for Hameed on the third evening of the game when his sharp catch at short leg off Neil Wagner got rid of Broad and helped set up Lancashire’s eventual eight-wicket win
“I was a bit nervous coming into the season with what the lads were saying about fielding at short leg but they’ve begun to back me more and more and I’m beginning to enjoy it,” he said.
“I’ve not fielded at short leg before so I’ve had to catch up on a lot of the work. Ashley Giles told me that morning that it would pay off but the key is to be as relaxed as you can be when you are fielding five yards away from the bat.”
And there was another first for Hameed on the fourth day of the game when he joined in a rendition of the Red Rose victory song. However, he hardly had to spend much time learning the lyrics; they consist of the one word “Lancashire”.
Hameed, though, will be more than happy if it is ringing out across the County Ground, Taunton, at some point next Wednesday.