“I always thrive … when they give me that extra responsibility”; Saqib Mahmood was delighted to seize his England opportunity with a man-of-the-match display against Pakistan; Rob Key says the fast launcher was “perfect” and stands behind it to play for his country in all formats.
Saqib Mahmood took two wickets with his first three balls to get England to a midfielder in Cardiff
Saqib Mahmood further enhanced his growing reputation with four wickets in a man-of-the-match display when much-changed England thrashed Pakistan in the first international match of a day.
The 24-year-old Lancashire fast pitcher, playing only his fifth ODI, took two wickets on the first three balls of the game and finished 4-42 in a sweeping nine-wicket victory for the hosts under substitute. Captain Ben Stokes.
With the entirety of England’s starting team self-isolated following a coronavirus outbreak in the camp, Mahmood was one of the more experienced players in the reviewed group and pushed his claim for greater regulation inclusion with a winning display in Cardiff.
“I always thrive, whatever team I play for, when they give me that extra responsibility,” he told reporters.
“Speaking to Stokesy, he said he wanted me to take the new ball and even take me when we needed ground, that sort of thing, I would thrive on that. I’m glad I was able to support that and make the most of that responsibility.”
When asked if he could have expected to have played more matches for England by now, Mahmood pointed to the quality of the players ahead of him in the pecking order and admitted that he had previously not done enough when given a chance.
“I think the main thing is that this is the number one team in the world and you have to do some very special things to replace the guys who have the places,” he said.
“When I played for England, I didn’t get to take advantage of that opportunity. I don’t think it’s a team where when you come in, you have time to settle, I guess.
“You have to go in and make the most of your opportunity because there are a lot of good players around, especially if you are trying to come in and try to nail your place.
“I felt like in the T20 I hadn’t nailed my spot yet, but in the ODI, I just started to make some progress last summer. I haven’t played in the last 12 months, but I’m glad I did.” to be able to seize that opportunity today and I look forward to supporting it for the rest of the series. “
While his international career has been solely on the white ball field to date, Mahmood has impressed for Lancashire at the County Championship this season and confirmed that he also has the ambition to play test cricket.
Sky Sports expert Rob Key believes the Birmingham-born bowler has improved significantly since he had his first shot at England and all the tools to continue his progress in cue ball cricket and make his way to the side of the red ball too.
“It’s not that easy, I don’t think, for a fast pitcher to catch your eye,” said the former England hitter. “But right away, as soon as it started, it was perfect.
“He’s got that angle and he just gets the ball upright. He’s fast (88.89 mph) and has good control. Plus, he seems like a pretty smart bowler, he’s constantly preparing his own courses.
“It was very encouraging for England. It was absolutely brilliant from the start, it didn’t give Pakistan any room to breathe.
“I thought it was outstanding.
“We get carried away in England when someone puts in a good performance, but from what we saw at the Roses clash earlier this year, when you see him on broadcasts, I think he is someone we will start to see in all formats. England. and it has really made his case better. “