Alastair Cook confirms Haseeb Hameed will make debut in first Test against India
By Ben Reynolds
Last Updated: 08/11/16 4:38pm
Alastair Cook has confirmed that Haseeb Hameed will make his debut in the first Test against India, with Ben Duckett moved to bat at four.
Hameed, 19, will become only the sixth teenager to play Test cricket for England when he replaces Duckett at the top of the order alongside Cook for the match, which starts on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports 2 from 3.30am.
Duckett, who scored a fine 56 in a losing cause in the second Test against Bangladesh last month, moves to four with Gary Ballance dropped from the side after managing just 24 runs in four innings against Bangladesh.
Cook refused to disclose any further details of his side, with decisions to be made on the bowling attack dependent on the pitch at Rajkot.
"Has is going to open the batting and Ben is going to bat at four," said Cook, who will make his 136th Test appearance this week.
"It's unfortunate for Gary (Ballance). In his six Test matches back, he hasn't quite scored the runs he would have liked to.
"It has given someone else an opportunity and it's a very exciting day for a young guy who has impressed everyone so far on this trip.
"You often wonder with a 19-year-old coming on tour whether he will be overawed by it - and he hasn't been at all.
"He has looked really good in the nets, the way he has trained and the way he has gone about his business.
"It's maybe come a year earlier than he would have thought, but he has developed quickly and he is one of those natural runscorers.
"All through his age group, every team he has played in, every standard, he has scored runs, so he should be very proud and hopefully he can do well."
Cook admits Duckett is a little unfortunate to be dropping down the order after his final knock against Bangladesh, but he expects the Northants batsman to cope with the change.
"It's not ideal giving a guy two games at the top and then changing him, but he is a pretty unflappable character," said Cook.
"He had three tough innings [against Bangladesh] and then played a really good innings at the top of the order. But I suppose historically he's played all his cricket in the middle order apart from the last year or so.
"He's comfortable playing anywhere. It's never ideal when you chop and change, but he's a fine cricketer."
India squad: Gambhir, Vijay, Nair, Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Saha, Ashwin, Mishra, Jadeja, Sharma, Shami, Yadav, Pandya
England squad: Cook, Ali, Ansari, Bairstow, Ball, Ballance, Batty, Broad, Buttler, Duckett, Finn, Hameed, Rashid, Root, Stokes, Woakes, Anderson (unavailable for 1st Test)