Haseeb Hameed will make his England Test debut when they take on India in the first Test of the five match series in Rajkot. The 19-year-old Lancashire batsman plays at the opening slot and becomes only the second teenager to represent India in Tests since 1949.
With Hameed coming in, England have opted to drop Gary Ballance from the XI with Ben Duckett to replace him and come in at number four.
“A little bit further down the line than we were yesterday. So Haseeb Hameed will come and open the batting and make his Test debut. Ben (Duckett) will drop down to number four. That’s as much decision we can make of at this stage, said England captain Alastair Cook on Tuesday.
Despite confusion and controversy marring the first Test as BCCI moved court seeking disbursement of funds to host the first Test even though the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) accepting to foot the bill for hotel stay, travel and other expenses.
Cook was all praise for young Hameed who scored 1129 runs in County cricket this summer. “We’ve been hugely impressed with how he’s goone about on this tour. He’s young and lots of people and selectors in County cricket have said good things and nothing seems to faze him.”
Hameed had also been included in the squad for Bangladesh but didn’t feature in the 1-1 series draw. But now with Ballance suffering a drop in form – scoring just 24 in four innings in Bangladesh – it gives the youngsters the chance required.
“I feel sorry for Gary (Ballance) in huge number of ways. I think he’s playing really good cricket. He got couple of starts against Pakistan but he didn’t go on to get big scores which you need. There were tough conditions in Bangladesh.”
“Speaking to him today it was ultimately about number of runs scored and he’s not managed to do that. I still think he’s a fine player and will play once again for England and do well,” said Cook.
The last teenager to debut for England was Ben Hollioake who was 19 when he played against Australia in 1997.