Hameed relishing Old Trafford return after difficult end at Lancs

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


England opener Haseeb Hameed said he will cherish walking out to bat in a Test match at Old Trafford, two years on from being cast aside by home county Lancashire.

After bursting onto the international scene as a teenager in exacting Indian conditions with England in 2016, an alarming and prolonged loss of form prompted the Red Rose to release Hameed.

Back in the England fold after reviving his career at Nottinghamshire, Hameed, still only 24, is in for an emotional return to Manchester for the fifth Test against India.

"Growing up, that is the dream for a young Lancs player," he said. "But obviously when you're going through difficult moments that seems a long way away and it is only natural to feel that way and wonder if it will happen.

"But I'm extremely grateful to be in this position. I'm looking forward to it because my memories of Lancs are all positive. It was where I made my first-class debut, made my maiden first-class century, I had a lot of success.

"I've always said that the club holds a special place in my heart. And I don't want the last couple of years to overshadow what I feel like has been a good relationship and a good time at the club.

"I feel very lucky and privileged to be in this position. But I realise we've got a big game as a team and hopefully we can put on a show for them and draw level in this series."

Hameed's 63 could not prevent an England second-innings collapse in the fourth Test at The Oval to fall 2-1 behind in the series.

The man once dubbed the "Baby Boycott" also made two half-centuries in his first three Tests five years ago before a finger injury preceded his dramatic downturn.

"The way I put it in my mind now is that it was something that was just part of the journey," he added.

"I guess it was quite extreme in terms of the highs of India then the lows were very low. It was just part of something that I had to experience. I guess there's a number of different reasons as to why that could be the case.

"But it is not something I want to dwell on too much. I'm just happy to take the learnings from that and hopefully be confident that it will help me going forward and make me a better player and person for it."