Cricket Expert & Columnist
Haseeb Hameed backed to return to the England Test side by Michael Atherton and David Lloyd
Last Updated: 03/04/18 12:19pm
David Lloyd and Michael Atherton believe Lancashire opener Haseeb Hameed will "quickly" be back in England contention this summer.
Joe Root's side were unable to force a victory on the final day of the second Test against New Zealand and, as such, end their winter without a victory in seven Tests.
One potential casualty is Mark Stoneman. The 30-year-old has hit five fifties since replacing Keaton Jennings at the top of the order last summer but is yet to reach three figures and with an average of 30, could find his opening berth alongside Alastair Cook, who has also struggled for form, under threat ahead of series against Pakistan and India this summer.
Meanwhile, Hameed impressed in his three Test matches in India last winter prior to sustaining a broken finger and although he suffered a lean 2017 season, averaging less than 30 in first class cricket, the 21-year-old hit a century in Lancashire's most recent warm-up match and Lloyd expects him to be recalled to the England squad in the near future.
"I think Haseeb Hameed will come into this team quickly," Lloyd told Sky Sports Cricket. "I'm just thinking back to when Marcus Trescothick was selected for England, he was only averaging 30 but Duncan Fletcher saw something in him and said, 'I'm going to pick him'. He went on and became a terrific player."
Atherton concurred and, while he highlighted a couple of Hameed's weaknesses, he believes his game is well suited to conditions in Sri Lanka and the Caribbean, where England will tour next winter.
"I agree on Hameed but I think if you score 82 in a Test match in India, as a teenager, as he did in very tough conditions…" he said. "Think of England's travels next winter, they're going to be in Sri Lanka and the Caribbean with similar low, slow turning pitches.
"The area of Hameed's game that he's got to improve on is with bounce and around his off stump, he plays a little low, and also to play the match situation and turn over the strike and not get too stuck. I think he will come into the equation quickly in the summer."
While issues with the batting line-up remain, it has been an inability to take 20 wickets away from home that has been most costly for England in the past couple of years.
However, Atherton feels that the balance of attack used in Christchurch could provide the template for future away series.
"It's a better attack for foreign conditions with the Kookaburra ball," he added.
"You've got your two new ball bowlers (James Anderson and Stuart Broad) - and the new ball is so important here - then you've got a proper spinner (Jack Leach) who can hold the game or, if the conditions then deteriorate, he's in the game and they've got Mark Wood, with a bit of extra pace, who offers something a little bit different whether its bouncers, yorkers or reverse swing.
"There is just a little bit more variety there, Ben Stokes when he gets fit will add to that. It's a better attack than the rather one-dimensional attack they took to the park in Auckland and for the majority of the Ashes."