India vs England: Haseeb Hameed returns to land of his forefathers, scripts fairytale debut
The fairytale rise of Haseeb Hameed is sweetened by the fact that he is playing his first Test in Gujarat, the native land of the Hameed family.
The story of teen sensation Haseeb Hameed, who has enjoyed an impressive Test debut against India in Rajkot, is one for the movies.
At 19, Hameed is the youngest player to open the batting in England's Test history, and came good on his maiden appearance, with a significant half-century in the second innings.
Hameed's first international cap came on the back of an impressive 1,455 first-class runs from 20 games for Lancashire, including four hundreds, at an average of 52.45 in 15 First Division matches in the County Championship.
Scoring 82 in the second innings, adding to his solid 31 in the first, his fairytale rise is sure to be sweetened by the fact that he played his first Test in Gujarat — the native land of the Hameed family.
The youngster, dubbed "Baby Boycott" for his strong defence, is originally from India. In fact, his entire family was in the stands on Saturday and Sunday to witness the momentous occasion.
Father Ismail, a retired driving instructor, moved from Bharuch to England in the late '60s, while mother Nazma and two other brothers have all been in the stands, according to this report in the Indian Express.
The family, in Rajkot for the match as well as a wedding, said they visit Gujarat regularly and even speak Gujarati at home. To have Haseeb make his debut in the land of his forefathers is definitely something to be proud of.
The happy coincidence is being cherished by the Hameeds. Elder brother Safwaan, a club cricketer himself, told The Indian Express, "Don't know who is writing his script!"
But Rajkot is not the only Indian connection in the cricketer's incredible rise; his father and brothers have all played cricket at club level. The gene was activated in the youngster as a seven-year-old when he met Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai.
"I went to the MIG club where I had this brief interaction with Sachin Tendulkar. Haseeb was just seven at that point, but he saw the kind of attention and adulation that the Indian cricket star gets. It was at this point that he decided to be a cricketer," Safwaan was quoted as saying in the report.
Haseeb had earlier called Tendulkar his cricket idol. "Growing up it was Sachin Tendulkar. More recently I’d say my modern day heroes are Virat Kohli and Joe Root," he had told ECB website.
When he finally got the chance to make his debut appearance alongside Root and Kohli, he didn't disappoint, scoring a patient 82, also the highest score by a teenager for England. Haseeb must be delighted to mark his first match at a place which means a lot to his family.
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