Haseeb Hameed believes his ability to clamber back off the canvas will ensure his Ashes axing does not represent a knockout blow to his Test career.
One of the casualties of England’s 4-0 drubbing in Australia last winter, Hameed has spent the past couple of months coming to terms with not being part of Sir Andrew Strauss’ red-ball reset.
It is effectively the first time he has been dropped at international level, although some chastening stop-offs since he lost his place first time around – on a high of being this country’s youngest ever Test opener courtesy of a broken finger on the tour of India – has developed a fighter’s spirit.
Haseeb Hameed believes his Ashes axing will not represent a knockout blow to his Test career
The opener was one of the casualties of England’s 4-0 drubbing in Australia last winter
Within three years of a maiden series on the subcontinent in which he averaged over 40, his form plunged to the extent that his name appeared on Lancashire’s released list.
‘The way I see it is that I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my short career, and even growing up as a junior I had setbacks, but one thing I’ve always been able to count on, thankfully, is finding a way to get back up from rock bottom,’ Hameed said.
‘I guess this is another opportunity to do that. Of course, getting dropped out of the team, and not getting selected for this most recent tour is difficult but hopefully I can count on those experiences to come back again.’
Revitalised by a move to Nottinghamshire, England believed the time was right to go back to the Bolton-born batter last year.
Hameed has spent time coming to terms with not being part of the red-ball reset, which started in West Indies
Revitalised at Nottinghamshire, England believed the time was right to go back to him last year
Two half-centuries against Virat Kohli’s India went some way to justifying that decision and despite fears about his low hands getting him into trouble against a high-quality Australia attack, he looked the part when he held up an end for a ball-dominated opening session of the series, and then batted for another 90 minutes in the second innings, in Brisbane.
However, those contributions of 25 and 27 were followed by six single-figure ones and Hameed’s second coming expired before the margin of Australia’s series victory was confirmed in Hobart.
Nevertheless, as snow disrupted his county’s media day at Trent Bridge, he argued: ‘I can take a lot of confidence – although I didn’t make any big scores – from the way that I played in that first Test match at the Gabba, which is renowned to be the quickest or bounciest deck in the world.
‘For me, that was enough evidence that I can play on those wickets and in those conditions.
Two half-centuries against Virat Kohli’s India went some way to justifying that decision
‘I ended up speaking to Mike Hussey when I didn’t play in the last Test match and he was saying he’d never seen conditions like it. He said whenever they’d played in Australia, it’d do a little bit with the new ball but nowhere near as much as it did in this series.
‘I think that’s been neglected a little bit, actually – how challenging the conditions were. It was like being in England, nipping and seaming quite considerably, but with an extra seven miles per hour in the wickets in terms of the pace and the carry.
‘You’ve got to add a bit of realism to it. That’s not excuses, that’s just pure facts.
‘At the same time, do I feel like I could have done better? Of course. There were a few mistakes made, individually and as a group.
However,contributions in Australia of 25 and 27 were followed by six single-figure ones
‘I feel like we went into our shells a little bit after the first two Test matches and focused a little bit more on surviving or batting time as opposed to looking to score runs.
‘Looking back now, I don’t think that was the right mindset, either for me or for the team. (But) it’s very difficult with everything that’s happening and how quickly it was happening as well to make those changes you need to make.’
Now in the second half of his 20s, and a county captain in 50-over cricket at least, there is maturity in the way Hameed considers his personal standing on the eve of a County Championship season that from a Nottinghamshire perspective begins with an away fixture against Sussex next Thursday.
‘I’ve now had the opportunity to play against India and Australia in their home countries and most people would say it doesn’t get much tougher than that,’ he said.
Now a county captain in 50-over cricket at least, there is maturity in the way Hameed considers his personal standing
‘To have seven of my 10 matches in the opposition’s backyard will mean that I can count on those experiences to propel me forward.
‘But you can’t put timelines on things. There’s a series against New Zealand in June and then India are coming for that one Test they missed last year. The likelihood is with the new people coming in, there might be a few changes again.
‘Honestly, I’m looking at this summer as just another opportunity for me to do well for Notts, and I still have that confidence that will hold me in good stead and help me fulfil my ambitions of playing for England again.’