England's new opener Hameed has a Mumbai connect

Four years ago, Haseeb and his father came to Mumbai looking for a coach who would hone his batting skills. After checking out a couple of Kennedy Seaface-based clubs, Haseeb was introduced to Vidya Paradkar, one of Mumbai's most popular coaches.

England Haseeb Hameed opener

Haseeb Hameed was announced as the new opening partner for Alastair Cook on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

Vidya Paradkar, one of Mumbai’s most popular coaches, is happy that 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed is going to make his Test debut for England here on Wednesday.

Four years ago, Haseeb and his father came to Mumbai looking for a coach who would hone his batting skills. After checking out a couple of Kennedy Seaface-based clubs, Haseeb was introduced to Paradkar by Iqbal Shaikh, who was the fomer Assistant Commissioner of Police and Managing Committee member of the Mumbai Cricket Association. "He’s a good batsman against fast bowling and has two or three shots for a particular ball," Paradkar said.

Haseeb spent nearly two months with Paradkar from January 2012. "He was very young and Iqbal told me to coach the young Haseeb. After making him play a few balls, I could make out that he was good at 'watching the ball', which was difficult to find among other players of his age. He was probably 12 then. He needed to improve his foot work. After two months of training at the Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) Cross Maidan, I gave him a certificate saying that if he stays focused he will go on to play for his country. He was not good at running between the wickets, his lower limbs were weak,’’ said Paradkar.

Haseeb was in the England Development Programme and he attended the coaching programme organised by Sachin Bajaj’s Global Cricket School in Sri Lanka in 2014, but the young right-hander made another visit to Mumbai in October-November 2015 and spent around one and half months with Paradkar. "He was good at facing fast bowlers. So he was keen on playing the spinners, which I arranged at the KSA. He is capable of scoring centuries," said the coach.

Due to prior commitments, Paradkar could not meet Haseeb when the England team practised at the Brabourne Stadium for two days. "I will meet him during the Mumbai Test. I wish him all the best,’’ he said.