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Kohli meeting numbs pain for Hameed after unlucky break

Taking a bow: Haseeb Hameed impressed during his debut series Getty Images

Haseeb Hameed admits he was "taken aback" to be told he had to leave the tour of India, but says he used that realisation as an excuse to meet one of his heroes, Virat Kohli, at the end of last week's third Test in Mohali.

Hameed, who is now in Mumbai as a spectator having had an operation on a badly broken finger in the UK, said he was "devastated" to learn the severity of the injury and tried to plead with the coaches to let him play on with the use of painkillers.

But a dressing-room encounter with Kohli helped to assuage the disappointment of the injury, as he overcame his initial reticence to pick the brains of a player whom he found to be "open, honest and humble".

"I actually took Moeen Ali with me," Hameed said. "After I found out I was going home, I said as a bit of a joke, let's see if we can get hold of Virat for a couple of minutes.

"He's probably the most sought-after man in world cricket at the minute. I didn't want to miss that opportunity. Within a couple of minutes he came out. He was great. He said 'I'm happy to do that, now or later, whenever you want'. He was very obliging.

"I was just trying to get an insight into the way he goes about his business: what he thinks, because that's what sets him apart from other players in the world.

"The look on his face when he walked out and got runs... I could tell straightaway that he means business and then he went on and delivered.

"I was just trying to get into his mind as much as anything, and he was great: very open and honest. A lot of people see him as this aggressive, borderline-arrogant sort of person on the field, but I think it is pure passion and his desire to win that comes out on the field.

"Off the field he's very humble, I found, and very open with me. I was very grateful for that."

Hameed had clearly made an impression on India's captain, both on debut at Visakhapatnam, where he batted for 50 overs in the second innings to lead England's rearguard, and then at Mohali, where he came in at No.8 after suffering his injury, and counterattacked bravely to make an unbeaten 59.

After adapting his technique to take the pressure off his injured digit, Hameed had been confident of using the downtime between the third and fourth Tests to regain sufficient fitness to complete his maiden series. England's medical team, however, had other ideas.

"When I was told I had to go home, I was pretty taken aback," he said. "I didn't expect it.

"The day before my brother said 'when will you recover from the break?' and I said before the next Test. The swelling will go down and I'll be fine because we've got an eight-day break.

"But then to hear that I had to go home to have surgery... It did hit me. I was pretty devastated at the time.

"I tried to persuade the coaches and the doctor to find a way to work around it. I asked if I could just take some painkillers and strap it up and get on with it in the games. But for the long-term benefit, it just felt better for me to get the surgery done. I'm sure that's the case. Now it's just a case of getting myself ready for the English season."

Hameed departed safe in the knowledge that he had made a fine impression at the start of his Test career. While he has only played three Tests, the composure he demonstrated - particularly when batting in that second innings at Mohali - suggested that England had found a long-term partner for Alastair Cook, and a talent that could serve them well for years to come.

"I was quite determined it wasn't going to get to me," he said. "Obviously if you have a break it's going to be painful, but I just had to put that to one side and give it my best shot and not let that affect me.

"That was partly the reason why I had a couple of nets beforehand: to make sure I was ready. I found that, by trying to get my finger on the bat, it was probably causing me more pain and it felt quite restrictive. So I felt it was better to just hold the bat as hard as I could with the three other fingers. The physio actually said that most of the grip strength comes from the little finger, hence why I found it difficult to start off with. But the more I batted, the more I felt comfortable with it. It went all right."

He hopes to be able to start batting again in six or seven weeks. But, while he admits he has "mixed emotions" about watching his new team play without him, he will watch both this game and the final Test of the series in Chennai from the stands with the family who have been with him every step of this tour and long, long before it.

"I'm very close to my family," he said. "They obviously love the game and they've watched me since I was a young lad, so it was only fair for them to come out and watch me play.

"Making my debut in my dad's home state [Gujarat]... things fell into place quite nicely. Every time I went out to bat I was more confident and felt more comfortable.

"I'm sure there's something better in store for me out there because of this injury. I'm a big believer in tough times bringing out the best in you."