• Saturday, January 28, 2023

CRICKET

Lancashire pacer Saqib Mahmood eyes return to England team by next summer

Recovering from a stress fracture of the back suffered in May this year, the paceman is currently training in the UAE

Saqib Mahmood (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Lancashire’s fast bowler Saqib Mahmood hopes to return to the England team before the next summer as he is recovering from a stress fracture of the back suffered in May this year.

The 25-year-old cricketer, who made his Test debut against the West Indies in March is now training in the UAE while the national team is touring Pakistan.

“I think I’m at an intensity now where I’m bowling at batters in the nets and I’m obviously ramping it up, but I’m still a little bit away from match intensity, so I’ve just got to make sure I consolidate over this next couple of months”, he told LancsTV.

“Hopefully, from then on, I’ll see what’s available, and try and see if I can get myself back in an England shirt before the start of the summer,” he said.

“If that doesn’t happen then full focus onto Lancashire and obviously building up towards red-ball cricket at the start of the season,” said Mahmood, whose parents came to the UK from Kashmir.

The paceman who played his first international T20 match in November 2019 and made his ODI debut just before the pandemic lockdowns, said coping with injury layoff is tough.

“Mentally it’s hard. I think when you’re on your own it’s easy to have a lot of negative thoughts and a lot of doubts, and in a case of an injury like this, you are on your own a lot. That’s the reality of it. But being back out here, being amongst people, training around guys – you just feel like it’s back to back to normality again, almost.”

Born in Birmingham and raised in Rochdale, he has played two Tests, seven one-dayers and 12 T20 internationals for England.

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