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England cricketer called a terrorist after missing tour

Saqib Mahmood   (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

An England cricketer of Pakistani heritage said he was called a terrorist after missing a tour earlier this year.

Pace bowler Saqib Mahmood, who was named in the England Test and Twenty20 squads to tour New Zealand later this year, said he missed the England A squad’s tour of India in January due to visa issues.

“All of a sudden I was being called a terrorist and I had not done anything wrong,” Mahmood told the BBC’s Stumped.

“People thought I was plotting something when I was going on a cricket tour. I was getting called not a lot of nice things, hence why I tried to forget about it all.”

Mahmood is one of four players included in both England squads. The others are Joe Denly, Sam Curran and Matthew Parkinson.

On receiving the call, Mahmood said: “I knew the squad was being announced at two so all morning I was literally just staring at my phone waiting for it to ring.

“I ended up getting the call at twenty to two just as I thought the call was not coming. It was a great feeling – it was almost a too-good-to-be-true feeling.”

The 22-year-old added that his mind “went blank” when England selector Ed Smith gave him the news.

“He told me I was in both squads and it was such a weird feeling,” added Mahmood. “At the end he asked me if I had any questions and I did not want to tell him that I had not heard a thing he said.”