Nottinghamshire opener Haseeb Hameed wants to kick on after his record-breaking effort against Worcestershire last week and paid tribute to the environment at Trent Bridge for his return to form.
Scores of 111 and 114 not out at New Road across 635 balls saw the one-time England batsman reach three figures again following a lean few years which resulted in his release from Lancashire in 2019.
Two records were broken by Hameed against Worcestershire; most deliveries faced in a LV= Insurance County Championship match and his 824 minutes at the crease were the most minutes batted during a fixture in the competition.
The 24-year-old is no stranger to twin centuries, he achieved the feat against Yorkshire back in 2016 but has been through a rollercoaster journey since where he scored only one hundred across four difficult campaigns for varying reasons.
“That was an amazing couple of days for me, to be able to do that. It’s the second time in my career, to go back-to-back in a game, so it is obviously very special,” Hameed said.
“To go in with confidence and be able to get a couple of scores was pleasing and again hopefully I can build and continue that good form going forwards.”
Hameed’s story is well-documented, with a couple of fifties as a teenager during England’s tour to India in 2016 the pinnacle of his career before a dramatic drop in form.
Lancashire cut ties with the ‘Baby Boycott’ after another poor season in 2019 and a reunion with his former coach Peter Moores at Trent Bridge offered the chance to rebuild.
Impressive displays in the Bob Willis Trophy, where he hit three half-centuries, saw Nottinghamshire extend Hameed’s contract in December and the Bolton-born batter has been rewarded again more recently with the vice-captaincy at his new county.
“There has been some challenging moments in there, but hopefully I can come out of the other side and build on what I have started here,” he said.
“For me the main thing when I joined Nottinghamshire was to make sure I started afresh again and I didn’t want any baggage from my previous couple of seasons.
“Thankfully so far that has worked out nicely. The guys around me have welcomed me beautifully and I feel a massive part of the team already having only been here for eight games, which is quite weird.
“I’ve been here a lot longer, 18 months or so, but due to last year I have only played eight times, so to feel a big part of team and we are hoping to build something special here and to have the responsibility to be vice-captain is great.”
After success during the truncated domestic season in 2020, Hameed worked on his pre-delivery movements in the winter.
It was only a slight adjustment but Hameed could have been forgiven for letting the doubts creep in after he scored 37 runs during his first five innings of 2021.
However 53 against Warwickshire proved a reminder he was on the right track before back-to-back centuries last week offered further evidence.
“Any time you don’t score runs you try to look at why, but that is when you need good people around you as well,” Hameed admitted.
“I am lucky I feel I have got that both here at Nottinghamshire and people at home play a big part as well. I wouldn’t say there were massive doubts, but the fact I was able to score a fifty against Warwickshire, after that Oxford game, told me things weren’t too far away.
“Early season in April, you can get a couple of good balls and have a few low scores, so for me I was not looking too deep into my dismissals and it was about keeping the faith.”
Given the impression he made in India, winning praise from Virat Kohli amongst others, talk of an England return is always inevitable, especially considering the age of Hameed.
While he is regularly in contact with England Men’s Performance Director Mo Bobat, an international recall is not on the horizon just yet.
“I have quite a good relationship with Mo Bobat as it is, so we talk more like friends,” Hameed revealed.
“He is someone I respect, he was my manager growing up in the England Development Programme Under-16s, so we built a good relationship then.
“Obviously he has gone on to quite a big role at the ECB, but we talk and he was there for me when I was going through a tough period.
“He was there to give me advice and we talk on that kind of basis, but nothing too detailed and the message for me has always been quite simply if I can get back to enjoying my cricket again and performing well, the rest will hopefully look after itself.”
With Hameed playing with a smile on his face again, it might not be long before those conversation with Bobat are more than just on a friendly basis.