Haseeb Hameed will leave Lancashire at the end of the season after the club decided against offering the 22-year-old batsman a new contract.
The announcement marks a stunning downturn of fortunes for Hameed, who was once dubbed ‘Baby Boycott’ and exploded on to the international scene as a teenager with a couple of mature innings in testing Indian conditions in 2016.
Indeed, such was his standing after the tour – where he averaged 43.8 in three Tests – that many concluded England’s torturous search for Alastair Cook’s long-term opening partner was over.
But Hameed’s batting deteriorated to the point where he averaged 9.7 in 17 innings in the 2018 County Championship, and though there was been some improvement this season, the Red Rose declined to offer him a new deal.
A Lancashire statement said: “Lancashire Cricket Club can confirm that the 2019 season will be Haseeb Hameed’s final year, after the club decided not to renew the batsman’s contract, which concludes at the end of the current campaign.
“The club met with Haseeb on Friday and explained its decision, and the 22 year-old is now free to discuss opportunities with other counties.
“The club would like to thank Haseeb for all of his commitment and efforts since he made his first-class debut in the 2015 season, having come through the academy.”
Hameed became the youngest batsman to register 1,000 runs for Lancashire three years ago while he earned his moniker – in homage to former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott – with a patient and unflustered approach at the crease.
His displays for Lancashire earned him England ascension and he caught the eye by making 82 on his Test debut in Rajkot before contributing a gutsy 59 with a broken finger in Mohali.
A couple of hand injuries were followed by a sudden and inexplicable deterioration in his batting, and last winter Lancashire’s director of cricket Paul Allott said Hameed was “hanging on by his fingertips” at the club.
He brought up a first century since August 2016 with a knock of 117 against Middlesex in April but he is averaging only 28.42 this year and has been conspicuous by his absence from the first-team recently.
Hameed registered an unbeaten 159 as captain of Lancashire’s second string against Leicestershire earlier this month but the Old Trafford club have decided a parting of the ways would be in the best interests of all parties.