Haseeb Hameed, the opener released by Lancashire less than three years after starring in his debut Test series for England in India, has signed for Nottinghamshire on a two-year deal.
Hameed attracted interest from several counties – including Worcestershire – after his release but the lure of Trent Bridge and the opportunity to work with Peter Moores has seen him sign a deal with Nottinghamshire, despite their relegation to Division Two of the County Championship.
“I’m very excited to be joining Nottinghamshire and playing my cricket at Trent Bridge,” Hameed said. “I’ve enjoyed myself every time I’ve played at this great venue and hope to add to some good memories there.
“This is a new chapter in both my life and career and I’m full of excitement to start working with my new teammates and helping get Notts back up to Division One where they belong.
“I want to thank Lancashire for the support they’ve provided over the years and to my teammates, whom I’ve shared a dressing room with. A special mention to Mick Newell and Peter Moores at Notts for believing in me – I can’t wait to get started.”
Hameed – still only 22 – enjoyed a breakthrough season for Lancashire in 2016, when he hit 1198 runs in Division One of the County Championship, including an innings of 122 at Trent Bridge against a Notts attack including Stuart Broad, Harry Gurney and Imran Tahir.
His impressive run tally – as well as his temperament and his ability against the turning ball – won him a spot on England’s winter tours, and he made two fifties in six innings in the 2016-17 series in India, scoring 82 on debut in Rajkot and an unbeaten 59 – with a broken finger – in Mohali.
But his form disintegrated dramatically over the next three years. He lost his place for the 2017 home Test summer, as his average in the Championship dipped to 28.50, and the following year he made 165 runs at 9.70. He started the 2019 season with an impressive 117 in an early-season Championship game at Lord’s – having also scored 218 against Loughborough MCCU – but it proved a false dawn, and he only passed 50 once after that innings.
The theories behind Hameed’s loss of form are plentiful. Some suggest that his technique changed game-by-game with several different coaches competing to make changes, while others claim that he lost his judgement outside off stump after being brought into Lancashire’s limited-overs teams. Other note that his record again seam bowlers was never outstanding – at least not in comparison to against spin.
His release from Lancashire came as something of a surprise, despite regular public criticism from director of cricket Paul Allott. At the start of the 2019 season, Allott told Wisden Cricket Monthly that Hameed was “hanging on by his fingertips” at the club.
“He’s got six months left on a contract, and he’s not scored a run for two years,” he said. “Not only is he a million miles away from England, he’s hanging on by his fingertips at Lancashire.”
Hameed will hope that a change of scene, and a chance to work with one of the most respected coaches on the county circuit, can reinvigorate his career.
“There’s no doubting Haseeb’s talent,” Moores said. “It doesn’t get much tougher than Test cricket in India and he proved over there, at a very young age, that he has all the skill, temperament and patience to succeed at the highest level.
“He’s enjoyed some more difficult times since then, and that’s going to happen with young players, but the ones that are destined for great things bounce back and move their games on again.
“We believe that’s what’s going to happen with Haseeb and it’s great news for Notts that we can be the ones to benefit from that.”