• Tuesday, May 24, 2022

CRICKET

Saqib Mahmood can’t wait to play Test cricket for England

England’s Saqib Mahmood celebrates after taking a wicket. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

WHEN England were getting battered in the Ashes series, an Englishman was doing well in the Big Bash League, featuring for Sydney Thunder.

Saqib Mahmood, who plays for Lanchashire on his debut in BBL picked four wickets from 11 balls. He has taken 13 wickets in six matches for the Thunder.

He was part of England’s Ashes squad but not retained. Mahmood was part of the ODI series against Pakistan last summer when England was forced to field a new squad because of Covid breakout.

Ahead of the Headingley Test against India, Mahmood was in the 12 and on a green top he was expeting to be picked in the playing XI, but England went ahead with Craig Overton. In the next Test too on a flat deck at the Oval they persisted with Overton.

“The Headingley Test, I felt like in my head I was preparing to play,” Mahmood told The Telegraph. “I thought I was going to get a go. I was named in the 12 the night before and found out in the morning I was not going to play. It is the closest I have come to playing Test cricket.

He added: “When I didn’t get picked I knew my chances for the rest of winter were gone. It was public that they were not going to be giving any debuts during the Ashes so when I was not picked for that Headingley Test I knew that I was not going to get much of a go in Australia.

“But before I came out to Australia with the Lions the carrot was dangled again that I could still be part of that squad. Bowling with the red Kookaburra for the Lions, I wanted to maximise my experience and break into the Ashes squad.”

But Mahmood still hopes to make a contribution in red-ball whenever he gets a chance. “Missing out has not changed anything. For me, Test cricket and red ball cricket are my top priority,” he told the Telegraph.

Mahmood signed up for BBL keeping an eye on the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. But after England’s debacle in the Ashes they would look to rebuild and surely Mahmood could be a part of the Test squad when the team tours West Indies in March.

Eastern Eye

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