LONDON – Nineteen year old Haseeb Hameed will become the second youngest player to play for England´s Test history after being named in the starting XI for the series-opener against India.
Alastair Cook said Ben Duckett, who opened in the last Test against Bangladesh, would drop down the order for the match which begins Wednesday in Rajkot. The struggling Gary Ballance has been dropped.
“Unfortunately in the (last) six Test matches he (Ballance) hasn´t quite scored the runs which he´d have liked to, so it has given someone else an opportunity and it´s a very exciting day for a young guy who has impressed everyone so far on this trip,” Cook said of Hameed.
“You often wonder if a 19-year-old coming on a tour will be overawed and he hasn´t been at all. He´s really looked good in the nets, the way he has trained and has gone about his business.
“Nothing seems to faze him. He is more experienced than his 19 years suggest.”
Cook said Hameed had shown his class in warm-up matches ahead of last month´s two-Test tour of Bangladesh and the teenager had long been highly thought of by the selectors.
“It´s probably come a year earlier than he would have thought but it´s probably the way he had developed quickly and he is one of those natural run scorers,” said Cook, who will partner Hameed at the top of the order.
“Every team he has played in, he has scored runs. He should be very proud and hopefully do well. ”
At 19 years and 297 days of age, Hameed will also be England’s fifth youngest Test cricketer and the youngest since Ben Hollioake against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1997, with his first cap coming on the back of an impressive county season in which he scored 1,198 first-class runs.