There is more bad news for the England cricket team as their young opener Haseeb Hameed has now been ruled out of the remainder of the India-England Test series with a broken finger. Hameed, who sustained the injury after being struck by a delivery from Umesh Yadav in the first innings, will now be flying back to his country as he needs surgery on his left hand.
England coach Trevor Bayliss has confirmed that scans have revealed that Hameed's little finger has been fractured into two pieces. “It's a break that is all the way through the finger – the finger's in two pieces," he said. He will now be replaced by the uncapped Durham opener, Keaton Jennings.
Hameed's departure however is a big blow to the England team as the 19-year old has been the standout performer on his maiden tour to India. The youngster impressed everyone with his 82 in the first Test in Rajkot, which happens to be the highest Test score by an England teenager.
He followed it up with his 50-over block-athon in the second innings in Visakhapatnam when he displayed tremendous determination and grit. The 640 balls he has faced in this series, including the 156 in the second innings in the third Test, are the most by any English batsman in the first three Tests.
But the most heroic of all was the fact that he could brave the pain and go on to score a gutsy 59 in the second innings of the recently concluded Test in Mohali. Batting down the order, it took a superhuman effort for him to bat on despite the broken finger, eliciting comparisons perhaps with the time when Graeme Smith had come out to bat with a broken arm or Anil Kumble had bowled with a fractured jaw.
Despite the pain, Hameed was a picture of concentration and poise, taking 111 deliveries to register his first boundary. When he started running out partners, he adopted a more aggressive approach, attacking Ashwin. He even brought up his second Test half-century by smacking the Indian off-spinner for a huge six.
Hameed had gone for the scans on Monday which meant that the x-ray results came in halfway through his innings. He had braved the pain without an injection, depending only a couple of paracetamol tablets.
Bayliss was full of praise for the youngster. "Possibly, with hindsight it was a risk to bat today. If you'd have seen him in the change-room though you wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong with him," he said.
"A couple of headache tablets and out he went. Obviously he's got a big pain threshold. He wants to stay and play the last two Tests, he wouldn't take no for an answer. He wants to stay. We'll make sure he gets back and gets it done so he's right to go early next season.
"He was sore yesterday, he went over to net three times and the first two times weren't too successful. He was working out a way how to play with his little finger off the bat. Once he did that he was quite comfortable. It's a hell of a skill to have – to change the way you play to combat that."
Hameed has impressed us all with his technique and talent: Cook
England captain Alastair Cook was hugely impressed by Hameed’s temperament and performance.
"It's desperately unlucky. He has impressed us all with his technique, talent and now his bravery and shown when he's playing for England he will do anything to get out there," he said. "To play like that was a very special knock."
Hameed would also be glad that he has been able to impress the Indian Test captain, Virat Kohli. He had spoken of Kohli with wide-eyed wonder ahead of the series re-iterating the fact that the Delhi batsman was one of the heroes he looked up to
Hameed's unbeaten 59 has moved Kohli tremendously now and he had words of encouragement for the young England opener.
"He's showed great character for a 19-year-old," Kohli said. "He put his hand up when his team wanted him to do it and the way he played with Anderson showed great maturity. You can sense it as a captain: this guy is intelligent, this guy knows the game.
"He's a great prospect for England. He's definitely going to be a future star in all forms if he keeps persisting with his skill. I'm really impressed and that's why I patted him on the back. It was an innings full of character and something that you need to applaud."