“My memories of the Lancs are all positive,” says Hameed before the fifth and final test against India. “I don’t want the last few years to overshadow what I feel has been a good relationship and a good time at the club.”
Haseeb Hameed has posted two half centuries in his last three innings with England.
England starter Haseeb Hameed will appreciate walking at bat in a test match at Emirates Old Trafford, insisting there is no lingering bitterness over his departure from his native Lancashire two years ago.
Bolton-born Hameed was released by Red Rose County after a prolonged loss of form in the years after the impressive start of his test career, against India in late 2016.
The 24-year-old revived his fortune under Peter Moores in Nottinghamshire and is now set for an emotional return to Manchester for the fifth round of LV = Insurance against India.
“Growing up, that’s the dream of a young Lancs player,” he said. “But obviously when you’re going through tough times, it seems like a long way off and it’s natural to feel that way and wonder if it will happen.
“But I’m very grateful to be in this position. I’m looking forward to it because my memories of the Lancs are all positive. It was where I made my first-class debut, made my first century first-class bachelorette, was very successful.
“I’ve always said that the club has a special place in my heart. And I don’t want the last few years to overshadow what I feel has been a good relationship and a good time at the club.
“I feel very lucky and privileged to be in this position. But I realize that we have a great game as a team and I hope we can put on a show for them and draw in this series (with India currently leading 2-1).”
Hameed was once nicknamed ‘Baby Boycott’ and did two half centuries in his first three tryouts five years ago before a finger injury was followed by a dramatic drop in form that still baffles him to some degree.
“It’s difficult, I feel like there are several reasons and not many,” he said. “It is interesting. The way I put it in my mind now is that it was something that was only part of the journey.
“I suppose it was quite extreme in terms of the Indian highs and then the lows were very low. It was just part of something that I had to experience. I suppose there are several different reasons why that could be the case.
“But it is not something I want to dwell on too much. I am happy to learn from that and I hope to be sure that it will help me in the future and make me a better player and a better person for it.”
Hameed endured a punishing experience in his international retirement with nine runs in two innings at Lord’s last month, including a golden duck on his first hit, where he was thrown after missing a consecutive half volley.
Once again, he’s shown great character to bounce back with a half-century at Headingley and the Kia Oval, adding some ballast to the higher order alongside Rory Burns, though a triple-figure score has so far been elusive.
Both times, after turning fifty, Hameed has failed to kick with authority and faced accusations of retreating too far into his shell, but he is phlegmatic about the situation.
“Expecting to find the same rhythm every time he hits is not going to happen.”
“I learned that in long-form cricket you go through phases where you fight and you don’t feel the same way as when you hit fluently. That’s just part of test cricket.”
Watch the fifth and final event between England and India live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 10am. M. From Friday.