DateLine: 13th February 2006
Despite his career having followed James Anderson in going from the Lancashire leagues (in this case, Bolton) to the Lancashire First Team, Sajid Mahmood has yet to take the final step to the England Test team. After a very good tour to the soft pitches of India with England A in 2003-4, he was very near to the front of the queue for the next fast bowling slot in the England team. However, with Martin Saggers preferred to him for the series against New Zealand, he had to console himself with a single ODI against the Kiwis. However, there wasn’t much comfort to be found in this match, as his 7 overs gurgled away for 56 runs. That match seemed to set him back, as he struggled to bowl with either economy or potency for the rest of the 2004 season. Despite again impressing on tour with England A in another climate (Sri Lanka) unhelpful to his fast bowling, he again had a poor English season, with just 14 First-class wickets at 37 apiece. At 6 4”, and with the ability to naturally bowl genuinely fast, it is clear that when everything clicks with Mahmood there will be a very dangerous bowler. Encouragingly, he does not fall into the trap that many young quicks do of quixotically bowling bouncer after bouncer, although even at county level the runs can come very quickly off him at times, which will have to be corrected before he can face the world’s best batsman. His batting is based mainly on a good eye and aggressive instincts, although when he has a good day with the willow he usually scores quickly and entertainingly. He is the cousin of British Olympic boxer Amir Khan, and hopefully it won’t be too long before the big paceman joins him as one of Britain’s premier young sportsmen.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 Matthew Reed)
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