Hameed to make England Test debut


Haseeb Hameed will make his debut when England face India in the first Test in Rajkot on Wednesday with Ben Duckett dropping to number four, captain Alastair Cook has confirmed.

After impressing for Lancashire in the 2016 County Championship, where he amassed 1198 runs with four hundreds and an average of 49.91, Hameed received his first call-up to the national team.

The 19-year-old did not appear during the drawn Test series against Bangladesh but will be handed his first appearance in the longest format at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Hameed will open the batting alongside skipper Cook, and Duckett's demotion to four means Gary Ballance will drop out of the team.

Cook told BBC Sport: "Has is going to come and open the batting and Ben's going to drop down to number four. We've made that decision but without looking at that pitch I can't tell you the balance outside that.

"I think he'll [Hameed] be fine. We've all been impressed with how he's gone about his business on this tour. A lot of people back in county cricket said nothing seems to faze him and I don't think it will.

"It's a big time to make your debut but some people have made their debut in India and done alright."

Ballance only scored one fifty in five innings against Pakistan earlier this year, and with nine runs making for his best outing in Bangladesh the likelihood of him maintaining his place decreased.

However, Cook still believes the left-hander has a future with England.

"I feel sorry for Gary in a huge number of ways," said Cook. "I think he's playing really good cricket.

"These couple of starts against Pakistan he didn't go on and get a big score which is what you need and there were tough conditions in Bangladesh.

"Speaking to him, ultimately it's about how many runs you score and yet I still think he's a fine player who will play again for England and do well."