Hameed’s act of bravery leaves teammates in awe

Rival captain Kohli says he’s going to be a “future star”

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Gulf News

Mohali: Haseeb Hameed played one of the most courageous innings by an England batsman and left his teammates “in awe” of his performance as he valiantly tried to help his side in the third Test against India.

Hameed hit an unbeaten 59, batting for 10 minutes short of three hours, with the little finger of his left hand so badly broken that coach Trevor Bayliss described it as being in “two pieces”. He took only two paracetamol tablets to help ease the pain and batted knowing another blow could result in a far more serious injury.

Bayliss also revealed that Hameed was forced to devise a new way of gripping the bat to ease the pain from his hand, which will now require surgery and has ended his tour to India. Hameed will fly home to have a metal plate inserted into the finger to help the healing process and be fit for the start of next season. He leaves India having earned the respect of his teammates and with the coach’s praise ringing in his ears.

Virat Kohli, the captain of India, shook his (good) hand after “an innings full of character” from a player he believes is “definitely going to be a future star”.

Bayliss, whose side lost by eight wickets to go 2-0 down in the five-match series, said: “It’s a break that is all the way through the finger — the finger’s in two pieces, so it’s an injury that the medical people say if he gets another knock on it, especially in the field, it could bend it right back so it’s best to get it done as soon as we can. There’s plenty of other guys who have got hit and made a big song and dance about it. Obviously, he’s got a big pain threshold. I think there’s a lot of guys in there in awe of what he’s been through. The lack of showing any pain and guts and determination is a good sign.

“If you’d have seen him in the changing room though you wouldn’t have thought there was anything wrong with him. He wants to stay and play the last two Tests, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. His old man said, ‘Just tape it up, he’ll be all right’. Not only can he play but it’s great to see an attitude like that. We’ll make sure he gets back and gets it done so he’s right to go early next season.”

Hameed batted three times in the nets on Monday to test the injury, which he sustained in the second Test in Visakhapatnam when he was hit by the fourth ball of the second innings. England believe that blow may have left a small crack in the finger which became more serious when he was struck on the first morning of this match. “He was sore yesterday, he went over to net three times and the first two times weren’t too successful. He was working out a way with his little finger off the bat,” said Bayliss.

“Once he worked it out, he was quite comfortable. It’s a hell of a skill to have — to change the way you play to combat that. A couple of headache tablets and out he went.”

The news is a big blow for England and Hameed. This has been a family journey, with his parents, brothers and sister travelling with him at some stage of the tours to Bangladesh and India. The family are from Gujarat, the state where he made his Test debut in Rajkot just days after his older brother’s wedding, and his father, Ismail, who has coached him throughout his life, was planning to stay until the end of the tour.

He was taken aside by Phil Neale, the England manager, after play and told his son was having to go home. In this innings, while forging a partnership with Joe Root, Hameed batted patiently and had faced 110 balls for only 17 runs. But after Root’s dismissal and once the second new ball was taken, he attacked, striking five fours and bringing up his fifty with a six.

— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2016

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