What he said gave me a lot of confidence: Haseeb Hameed opens up on 'massive inspiration' Virat Kohli

Srinjoy Sanyal
·3-min read

Virat Kohli (L) and Haseeb Hameed (R) during the Rajkot Test in November, 2016
Virat Kohli (L) and Haseeb Hameed (R) during the Rajkot Test in November, 2016

English opener Haseeb Hameed recently admitted that Virat Kohli has been an inspiration for him, and added that the Indian captain's “future star” comment has served as a huge confidence booster.

The 23-year-old has played three Tests, all against India during the 2016-17 season. It was during that series that Haseeb Hameed impressed one and all with his batting technique and grit, so much so that cricket pundits nicknamed him ‘Baby Boycott’ in honour of legendary English opener Geoffrey Boycott.

Haseeb Hameed stamped his authority on the international arena almost immediately, and registered scores of 31 and 82 on his Test debut in Rajkot. The icing on the cake was his unbeaten 59 off 156 balls while batting at No. 8 with a broken finger in Mohali. It was this valiant knock that prompted Virat Kohli to take notice of the then 19-year-old.

“Obviously for someone like Virat to say that gives you a lot of confidence and he is a massive inspiration for me as it is. I think he is a great inspiration for people to look at and see what you can achieve if you put your mind to it and have a bit of discipline,” Haseeb Hameed said.

England were whitewashed 4-0 in the series, but they had seemingly unearthed a special talent in Haseeb Hameed who aggregated 219 runs at an average of 43.80 in three Tests.

‘I have something deep down that won’t let me stop,’ says Haseeb Hameed

Haseeb Hameed in action for Nottinghamshire earlier this year
Haseeb Hameed in action for Nottinghamshire earlier this year

Unfortunately, Haseeb Hameed has failed to make the Test team ever since. Even more surprisingly, his runs in the domestic circuit dried up so much that he had to shift base from his native Lancashire to Nottinghamshire.

After his average struggled to reach even double figures in 2018, Haseeb Hameed fared better last season in which he scored three half-centuries in five Bob Willis Trophy matches.

The Bolton-born lad signed a new contract with Nottinghamshire on Thursday that will keep him at Trent Bridge until the end of the 2022 season. Having overcome his lean patch, Haseeb Hameed sounded confident of playing more cricket and adding to his three Test caps.

“Having got a taste of it very young and then those experiences that followed, it has been an absolute rollercoaster but that ambition is still there...I am 23, I will be 24 in a couple of months but I still see myself hopefully playing this game I live for another 12 to 13 years, if not longer,” Hameed elaborated.

Hameed said that although he won't ever consider throwing in the towel, he did doubt his abilities at the time.

“I have something deep down that won’t let me stop. That is when you need something within you, deep down to stop you from giving in and to try one more time and to keep doing that,” Hameed concluded.

Haseeb Hameed has scored 3,179 runs at an average of 31.16 in 68 first-class matches, including five hundreds and 18 half-centuries. In 19 List A games, he has accumulated 556 runs at an average of 34.75 with a highest score of 88.