BOLTON batting star Haseeb Hameed has been tipped for a return to form this summer by Lancashire assistant coach Mark Chilton following last year’s struggles.

Hameed, aged 21, turned heads in 2016 with 1,198 County Championship runs and broke into England’s Test team in India that winter.

Unfortunately, the ex-Farnworth Social Circle and Tonge man did not reach those heights last year, scoring 513 runs with only three fifties.

He fell out of the England reckoning and suffered his second finger break in 10 months to end his season a week early in late September.

But a new year brings renewed confidence that Hameed will recover strongly for Lancashire and, hopefully, England.

Surely, he’s too good not to. Chilton agrees.

“Lots of players experience difficult challenges throughout their careers,” said Chilton, also an opening batsman during his playing days. “It won’t be the last for Has.

“Because of his rapid rise to the top and playing for England, he’s just hit a tricky patch a lot earlier than most would.

“There are moments when things go wrong and you have to take a step back and say ‘Okay, where do I want to get to, what do I need to do?’ He had that at the end of the season, albeit injury forced it upon him.

“He’s a very resilient character, and certainly the way he’s been going about his practice, I would expect him to have a good season.

“He looks as motivated as ever.”

Hameed has flown to the West Indies with the England Lions squad for three four-day matches between next Sunday and March 1.

Another Boltonian Matt Parkinson, currently playing grade cricket in Sydney, will take part in the one-day leg of the tour, by which stage Hameed will be back home preparing for his anticipated participation on Lancashire’s pre-season trip to Dubai in mid-March.

“The next few weeks will be important for Has (having not played any cricket since September),” said Chilton. “I would love to see him on pre-season just to have him around our group for two weeks. That will help both him and us.”

Parkinson, meanwhile, has enjoyed a productive winter playing for the Gordon club in Sydney, where fellow leg-spinner Mason Crane shone last year and saw it as the catalyst for his rise to England’s Ashes squad.

During his ECB organised placement, Parkinson has taken 44 wickets to date and trained with former Australia leg-spinner Stuart MacGill as well as professional squads New South Wales and Sydney Thunder.

“I have spoken to him a couple of times, and he was on good form and happy with the way things are going,” added Chilton.

“We’ll look forward to meeting him when we see him. He’s not with us on pre-season tour, which is a bit of a blow (because he’s playing in the North v South one-day series in Barbados after his Lions commitments).

“But, quite rightly, England have drafted him into the white ball set-up. You only have to watch the Big Bash in Australia to see the effectiveness of wrist spinners in short-form cricket.”

Parkinson was superb during his debut NatWest T20 Blast campaign last year, taking 14 wickets in nine matches and conceding only 6.06 runs per over. All-rounder Josh Bohannon, another of Lancashire’s Boltonians, is also out in Sydney playing for Randwick Petersham, where David Warner plays.

He has scored 490 runs and taken 15 wickets from 21 matches.