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It’s the dream of many young cricketers to become the next great player in the mould of Sachin Tendulkar. For young English batsman Haseeb Hameed, this journey has already begun. At just 20 years of age, he’s shown enough resilience, toughness and confidence to play Test level cricket for England. In November 2016, during a Test match against cricket powerhouse India, Haseeb’s performance – despite a broken bone in his pinkie finger – earned him respect and admiration from his teammates, with India’s captain Virat Kohli using terms like “great prospect” and “star” to describe him.

Hameed’s emergence as an exceptional talent has caught the eye of avid fans such as Fiyaz Mughal, the Director of Faith Matters, who enjoys watching the English cricket team. The fact that Haseeb is the youngest ever opening batsman draws a lot of attention, yet the young cricketer is taking everything in his stride.

Haseeb made his cricket debut for Lancashire in 2015, scoring 28 in his first professional innings. That season he averaged 42 runs with a high score of 91 and, by February 2016, Lancashire was ready to offer him a four-year contract ahead of the 2016 season. The young batsman scored more than 1,000 runs that season, in the process breaking Mike Atherton’s record of youngest Lancashire player to achieve those runs. By late 2016, he was included in England’s tour of Bangladesh and later became the youngest opening batsman – at 19 years old – for England when he played in the Test match against India.

His debut was impressive given the weight of expectation an opening batsman has at any given game. He scored 31 and 82 in a confident manner that brought hopes he could grow to become a prominent player for England. His first half-century was an emotional moment not just for him but also for his father Ismail, who had coached him on a concrete playground at the back of their house since childhood.

Ismail was a good cricketer in his early days, an opening batsman and spin bowler who featured in the semi-professional league with Huddersfield Cricket Club. While he did not make the leap to professional cricket, he focused his passion towards training his sons. Haseeb, the youngest of three children, showed the most promise. Through effort and dedication, he is finally showing the talent that could make him one of England’s shining cricket stars.