Are we talking about Haseeb Hameed or Jack Leach this week?

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Haseeb Hameed (via YouTube)

This is very difficult to answer. You might want to talk about both, but let’s imagine that we’ve only got one pint’s worth of time because we really should get back early because odds are we’re going to get woken up at about 5am, and yes, we could have another, but honestly it’s just not worth it.

In that precise scenario, who do we talk about?

Haseeb Hameed made a hundred, but then again it was only his first hundred in three years so not really all that important in the grand scheme of things. But then again-again, it was his first hundred in three years and Hameed has, at times, looked like what some people like to refer to as ‘the real deal’.

Jack Leach, for his part, took 6-36 in April and made his team win a cricket match.

Haseeb Hameed

Say what you like about the lad, he defies expectations.

Back in 2016, England threw down the gauntlet of lumens to see how the opener would react when exposed to its peculiar glovey glare.

Hameed responded very well, so they asked him to play Test cricket to see what would happen. What happened was he chugged along defensively and people called him Baby Boycott.

In his second innings, Baby Boycott hit a six and everyone wondered whether it was maybe time to get a wider selection of pigeonholes.

By the end of his debut series, Hameed had two fifties, an average of over 40, a long and glittering Test career ahead of him and a broken finger or thumb. (We can’t remember which and can’t be bothered checking. We think it was a thumb.)

Reinforcing his contempt for expectations, Hameed then scored no runs for several years. Now, with many people losing faith, he’s scoring runs again.

Jack Leach

Say what you like about the lad, he defies expectations.

Jack Leach is a spin bowler who averages 25 in first-class cricket and still doesn’t get picked for England very often. Jack Leach averages 24 for England.

Jack Leach is a man who takes cheap wickets at ‘Ciderabad’ where the pitches are somehow both spin-friendly and completely flat.

Jack Leach took 6-36 at Trent Bridge in April.

In April.

Jack Leach bowls in glasses.

So who are we talking about?

Strikes us that if we’re talking about batsmen making hundreds and spinners taking wickets in April, then maybe this year’s batch of balls isn’t quite so dibbly-dobbly as the last few years.

So let’s talk balls.


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    1. Yeah, the second division still doesn’t count, but given the history it was hard to avoid talking when he reached three figures against the students, let alone this week.

  1. One perennial solution to the “two topics to fit into one pub conversation” problem is just to conflate them?

    Jaseeb Hameach is one of England’s up-and-coming all-rounders – spins, sixes, specs, ability to be in two places at the same time, what more could you want?

  2. Come on, surely you’ve got time for a second pint – not even one of those ones that’s only 2.8%?

    1. I mean, I expect to be getting up at 4:30am (or so) tomorrow but will be having more than one this evening

  3. Surely we should be spending some more time talking about Gary Ballance, trying to decide whether we need to:

    A) Take a position on Gary Ballance


    B) Precisely what position we do or do not need to take on Gary Ballance

    Also, England might want to start looking at options for cloning (or cryogenically freezing) Jack Leach because I suspect that in 10 years time we’re going to be wondering why the ECB failed to make best use of him

  4. Far be it from me to put words into His Majesty’s mouth, but it seems to me that the “only one pint’s worth of time” motif is a metaphor rather than a literal reflection on KC’s diminished stamina in the face of encroaching familial matters.

    I am delighted to learn of your stamina in the matter of pints, APW, I would have expected no less of you.

    More realistically as a thought experiment, the selectors might, at this stage, only seriously consider making space for one of these returnist players at the start of the Ashes series. If only picking one, which of the two should it be; Hameed or Leach?

    In my opinion, based on limited and far from perfect information in the last week, I would pick Leach ahead of Hameed.

    The bowling problem is about making sure that we have enough attacking variety to take twenty wickets cheaply enough for a talented but too-often frail batting line up nevertheless to score/have scored enough runs for a win.

    The batting problem is the frailty/inconsistency of the batting line up.

    While it was impressive that Hameed scored a chanceless ton at Lord’s against a fine (though somewhat underperforming) pace attack on a pitch with some bounce and carry in conditions where the ball sometimes swung…

    …unless or until such performances form an incontrovertible trend, the inclusion of Hameed would not, for me, convincingly address the batting frailty problem.

    But the inclusion of Leach unquestionably would achieve something we know about and have confidence in; he is a chap who can take wickets in circumstances where others might struggle.

    Of the two, for now, Leach.

  5. I want to talk waking up times. Get a Groclock. Honestly, it changed my life.

    I woke up at 7am this morning so I can have an extra pint on my own and talk to myself.

    1. We can’t see how a Groclock would make someone sleep longer. We feel like we must be missing something.

    2. Far be it from me to advise on modern parenting – gawd knows Daisy and I made avoiding same into an avocation of its own – but, in my infancy, an automated voice reading a story named Sleepy Farm to me would no doubt have triggered the opposite reaction to that intended.

      Only daddy’s voice was good enough for me:

      But well done you, Jimmy, if you have managed to con your nipper(s). Try not to let him/her/them grow up quite so gullible, though.

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