England are still very much in the market for a Test opener, you feel. Mark Stoneman is making a fist of things, but they’d quite like another top order batsman or two to take to Australia.
At the time of writing, Lancashire are four wickets down but Haseeb Hameed is still holding firm. We wouldn’t bet against him carrying his bat – although neither would we put much money on him breaching 20 even if he manages it.
When Shivnarine Chanderpaul makes 23 of the runs in a 24-run partnership, you can be fairly certain that the guy at the other end hasn’t really been looking to impose himself on the bowlers.
Doubtless this is the right approach though. Haseeb Hameed is not a blocker, so if he’s playing that way then it’s surely for very good reason.
Dubai by night (CC licensed by Crazy Diamond via Flickr)
England are taking a break. A mid-tour holiday. There’s been a bit of discussion about the fact that they feel they need one and what that might say about international schedules, but there’s been precious little comment about why the holy hell they saw fit to go to Dubai.
We’d be interested to know how our Indian readers take this decision. To us, it sort of gives the impression that England see India as a place to be escaped. Couple of days off? Travel 2,000km to relax because relaxation would be impossible anywhere closer. Maybe they don’t feel that they get enough opportunities for air travel.
And honestly – Dubai? A friend who lives there assures us that there’s plenty to do, yet it’s hard to find a list of attractions which doesn’t list ‘shopping’ fairly high up. Why such a short hop and a skip from Chandigarh if that’s what you’re after? Why not plough on to Manchester for a full weekend at The Traff. Or, you know, India has shops too.
Perhaps this is hypocritical. In our youth we spent 10 days in Sri Lanka midway through a trip to India and it did sort of feel like a holiday. But then we also felt pretty relaxed in any number of Indian coastal towns or up in the mountains or out in the desert.
Someone should tell the England players that the major industrial cities in which they generally find themselves playing cricket aren’t necessarily representative of one of the world’s largest and most culturally varied nations.
For the record, Haseeb Hameed – who went home for surgery, not a holiday, lest we forget – will fly back to India next week to watch the remaining Tests with his family. We’re not sure precisely how many Hero Points he gets for that, but we’re prepared to allocate him plenty.
The pace of the world is too much for us these days. Haseeb Hameed is already defying other people’s expectations of him even before we’ve managed to form expectations for him to defy.
Hameed has been labelled ‘Baby Boycott’ in some quarters. On the basis of what exactly? The fact that he hasn’t yet played one-day cricket for his county, mostly.
He’s not a dasher, ergo he’s a blocker, ergo he’s Geoffrey Boycott. A pigeonhole based on a caricature based on minimal evidence.
The lad’s only made four hundreds. If you overlook the fact that one of them was made off 124 balls, he fits the stereotype perfectly.
Today Hameed applied a small blob of Tipp-Ex and completely rewrote history with a six.
This is what they do nowadays. They say they’re thinking of picking someone as a means of increasing the scrutiny on them and then they see how the player reacts.
Earlier in the season, word got out that England were almost certainly going to pick Scott Borthwick. He reacted by briefly forgetting how to bat. England didn’t pick him.
Haseeb Hameed is not exactly in the spotlight now, as he would be in a Test match. He’s more under a large fluorescent strip light. This is not quite the same, but it’s a great deal harsher than the Toc H lamp light he’ll have experienced thus far in county cricket – where fans outnumbers reporters only because they actually warrant a plural.
Some sort of gauntlet of lumens has been thrown down to Ian Bell too. He’s capable of withstanding the glare, obviously – we already know that. It’s more a case of establishing whether he can be bothered to do so any more.