Haseeb Hameed, once England's wonderkid, released by Lancashire at 22
Hameed has passed 50 twice in 33 innings over the past two Championship seasons
Haseeb Hameed has been released by Lancashire, less than three years after making two fifties in six innings for England in India as a 19-year-old.
Hameed made 31 and 82 on his Test debut in Rajkot in 2016, and immediately looked like the long-awaited replacement to Andrew Strauss at the top of the England order. He added an unbeaten 59 with a broken finger at Mohali, but his form fell away dramatically in county cricket. He averaged 26.10 in the 2017 season, and just 9.44 last year.
An impressive 117 in an early season Championship game at Lord's this year - having also scored 218 against Loughborough MCCU - looked as though it was the start of a return to form, but Hameed has only managed 341 runs overall, passing 50 just once since that innings.
At the end of the 2018 season, Lancashire director of cricket Paul Allott said that Hameed's struggles with the bat were a "complete and utter mystery".
"Haseeb Hameed is a dilemma for us - we gave him more opportunity, probably, than he deserved," Allott said. "Far too many games, probably, but having said that I've not seen a more talented young opening batsman in my 40-odd years in the game.
"The way he played here for us two years ago and then went to India and opened the batting for England - he was everybody's choice as the next Alastair Cook basically. Where his form and function have gone and disappeared to is a complete and utter mystery to us."
The main theories behind his loss of form are that he lost his judgement outside off stump after being picked to play 50-over cricket, and that his father - who has been his main batting coach despite limited experience - has not necessarily been a positive influence on his game.
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."
A Lancashire statement read: "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."