By: Pramod Thomas
FAST BOWLER Saqib Mahmood will make his test debut against West Indies in Barbados, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Tuesday (15), after Mark Wood was ruled out of the second test with a right elbow injury.
Mahmood, 25, has played seven one-day internationals and 12 Twenty20s, and was named in the 12-man squad for the opening Test in Antigua but did not make the final team.
“He’s very mature for a guy who hasn’t played a huge amount of international cricket and he has an understanding of how he wants to operate,” England captain Joe Root told British media.
“He’s been very impressive. He’s got a slightly different trajectory and will give us a point of difference. He has done that when he’s played in other formats… He’s a great option to have up our sleeve.”
A first appearance from Mahmood will be the only change to the England team as seamer Ollie Robinson continues to be sidelined after missing the drawn first test due to a back injury.
Born in Birmingham but raised in Rochdale, Mahmood played for England Under-19s as a 17-year-old and quickly became a regular, leading the attack with gusto in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016 – only two bowlers took more wickets in the competition.
He remained in the ECB’s thoughts, taking part in a fast-bowling camp in Potchefstroom to prepare for the 2017 summer before being named in the Lions squad to shadow the Ashes party in Australia the following winter.
The second test between England and West Indies begins on Wednesday (16) before the series concludes in Grenada from March 24-28.
England team: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Dan Lawrence, Ben Stokes, Jonathan Bairstow, Ben Foakes (wk), Chris Woakes, Craig Overton , Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood.