Sunday, March 26, 2023

“A Test cap would mean so much more than anything else” – Saqib Mahmood hopes to play the third Test against India

England pace-bowling sensation Saqib Mahmood has expressed his eagerness to make his Test debut. Mahmood was one of the new additions to England’s squad for the third Test against India at Headingley, where the pacer could make his first Test appearance.

Saqib Mahmood impressed in the recent white-ball leg against Pakistan, claiming the Man of the Series award as England won the ODI series 3-0. The 24-year-old was also with the Test squad during the second game at Lord’s, added to the squad as an injury cover for Stuart Broad. But the management released Mahmood so that he could play for the Oval Invincibles in The Hundred.

Mahmood has said that a Test cap would mean a lot, as it’s the pinnacle of the sport and his most-loved format. The right-arm seamer described five-day cricket as a ‘real graft’, where wicket-taking is key. Mahmood said that contributing well for Lancashire in four-day cricket should keep him in good stead in Tests too.

“A Test cap would mean so much more than anything else. For me, it’s still the pinnacle, and if I had to play just one format for England, it would be Test cricket. It’s five days of real graft. I’ve not played in a five-day win yet, but there’s nothing like a four-day victory with Lancashire going down to the last session.”

“You’ve got a ball in your hand, and you have to take wickets. We had a Roses win this season, and that was the best day I’ve had on a cricket field. If I’m ever able to do that in an England shirt, it would be amazing,” Mahmood said as quoted by The Daily Mail.

“From a young age I’ve been preparing” – Saqib Mahmood

Saqib Mahmood also revealed that he has been preparing as a youngster to play what he calls the most challenging format of the game.

The Birmingham-born seamer spoke about talking to his old bowling coach, and is ready to take any criticism coming his way. Mahmood said he feels ready despite playing only 22 First-Class matches.

“From a young age, I’ve been preparing. Test cricket is the hardest form of the game, with the level of scrutiny. I remember my old bowling coach Kevin Shine always used to look at my technical stuff, and there was a time when I was almost over-technical. I would ask about everything in my action, and he asked why.”

“I said that if I ever play Tests for England, which is what I want to do, and a guy in the TV studio is ripping my action apart, I want to know whether I should ignore their advice or learn from it. It’s impossible to know whether I’m ready for Test cricket before I’ve played, but this is the best position I’ve been in to potentially play, and I feel more ready now than (I was) a year ago,”

England lost the second Test at Lord’s convincingly by 151 runs after playing well for large swathes of the game.

So it will be interesting to see how many changes England ring as they attempt to win the third Test.


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