Teenage Haseeb Hameed will make his England debut against India in the opening Test in Rajkot on Wednesday. The game will go ahead despite the Board o
Teenage Haseeb Hameed will make his England debut against India in the opening Test in Rajkot on Wednesday. The game will go ahead despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India which threatened to call off the game over a financial dispute with the courts.
Alastair Cook confirmed the Lancashire opener has replaced Gary Ballance in the batting lineup. At 19 years Hameeed will be the fifth-youngest England Test player and the youngest starting batsman. It is a reflection of England’s selection as Hameed has been thrown in at the deep end against India, when he could have been given a two-Test series in Bangladesh for a marginally easier debut.
Cook, announcing the reshuffle on the evening of the first Test, also did not clarify comments given in a recent interview relating to his future as the England captain. He insists that it is “business as usual”.
Once England decided Gary Ballance was not playing the match – they were to bring in Jos Buttler in the middle order, or promoting Hameed to open and drop Ben Duckett to No 4.
The head coach Trevor Bayliss had wanted to play in Hameed as an opening batsman to face India’s high-class pace attack, while Cook had been swaying towards Buttler.
“We have all been hugely impressed with the way Haseeb has gone about his business on this tour. Nothing seems to faze him,” said captain Alastair Cook.
Hameed, who scored 1,129 runs at an average of 52 in County Championship Division One this summer, was called for the Test tour of Bangladesh in October but did not play in the 1-1 series draw.
For the time being it is the end of the road for Ballance, after 6 Tests back in the side got him just 219 runs, a single half-century and an average below 20. Alastair Cook put it: ‘He hasn’t scored the runs he would have liked.’
Buttler, too, will be saddened after a tour of Bangladesh in which he captained England to victory in the 1-day games, then rubbed his heels in the Tests.
Cook stated, “It was a tough decision because Jos has been playing some really good one-day cricket and has looked really good in the nets.”
Cook finalised by saying he had no timescale in mind about when to give up the job and concentrate on his batting.