When a 15-year-old Haseeb Hameed and his father came to Mumbai looking for a batting coach, they were introduced to Vidya Paradkar by Iqbal Shaikh, a fomer Assistant Commissioner of Police and Managing Committee member of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
Haseeb spent nearly two months with Paradkar from January 2012. Four years later, Paradkar's happy with his ward's showing in his Test debut against India. "He's a good batsman against fast bowling and he can play two or three shots for a particular ball," he said.
After making Haseeb play a few balls, Paradkar ascertained he could watch the ball well unlike other players of his age . "He needed to improve his foot work then," said Paradkar, "He was not good at running between the wickets, his lower limbs were weak. 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."
Paradkar's words realised when England captain Alastair Cook announced he would be opening with the Lancashire-born Haseeb before the series. Haseeb was Cook's 10th opening partner after the retirement of Andrew Strauss, who is currently Team Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Haseeb was part of England Development Programme. He also attended the coaching 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 2015 and spent around one and a half months with Paradkar.
"He was good at facing fast bowlers and so he was keen on playing the spinners which I arranged at the KSA. He is capable of scoring centuries," said the coach.
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," said Paradkar.
India opener Murali Vijay said Hameed is a talented opener. "He's pretty good talent, he's solid. His calm head is a good sign for a cricketer. He has a bright future."
Adil Rashid also praised Hameed’s temperament. "He's been very good. He's got a cool head. He's a very level-headed sort of boy, works hard in the nets and is a great talent."
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