TWO of Lancashire’s biggest players have sung the praises of 19-year-old opener Haseeb Hameed, with Alviro Petersen believing he has the potential to be a future Test batsman, writes Scott Hunt.
Having shone at the end of last season, Hameed has been trusted by head coach Ashley Giles to open the batting on Lancashire’s return to Division One.
And he has certainly not let Giles down, showing superb resilience and maturity to consistently get Lancashire off to a good start to their innings, completing his maiden First-class century in the Old Trafford draw with Warwickshire this week.
Former South Africa batsman Petersen has been impressed with the academy product in his first full season and highlighted Hameed’s impressive defensive game.
“Hameed has really played well – his game plan is based around defence which is good,” Petersen said.
“You don’t get openers like that any more, you get guys who want to score runs all the time and with that comes opportunities.
“He is an old-school cricketer. Nowadays guys just rock up wanting to play T20 cricket and his game plan is based around defence which is what you need in first class cricket, especially as an opener.
“It’s almost a case of when he goes in to bat you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s very level headed and he’s got a mature head on his shoulders”
Hameed played four championship matches at the end of last season, notching two half-centuries and a high score of 91.
Having already impressed at England U-19 level, Petersen is convinced Hameed will be a Test player in the future.
“He can be a Test player because those sort of players are not around any more,” Petersen said.
“You get your David Warner’s who just want to hit the ball, and they’re successful, but Test cricket might as well go full circle where you get the guys who can occupy the crease more.
“Ashwell Prince said something to him last year, he said ‘opening batters are born’. And he’s born to be an opening batter purely because of the way he defends the ball and he’s doing really good stuff for us.
“It was a saying to make him feel comfortable and that the way you’re playing is perfectly right.”
Tom Smith opened alongside Hameed in the victory over Surrey, his first Championship game for a year after a career-threatening back injury, as was equally impressed with the right-handed opener.
“It’s good opening with him, I felt like an old man I’m not going to lie!” Smith said.
“He’s certainly got a few years on me. But he showed again the class he’s got, Surrey bowled some really good balls at him but in his usual nonchalant way of just walking away and making sure it’s the next ball that counts.
“He looks a real player, he’s got a bright future in front of him and I’m sure if he keeps going like this he will have.”