County news September 19, 2012

Mahmood let go by Lancashire

ESPNcricinfo staff

Lancashire have released former England fast bowler Saj Mahmood after ten years at the club. Mahmood, 30, spent the latter part of the season on loan at Somerset, after losing his place in the Lancashire side, and it has now been confirmed that his contract will not be renewed.

Mahmood, who has played in eight Tests and 26 ODIs, was a part of Lancashire's title-winning team last season, taking 35 wickets, but saw his opportunities this year limited by the arrival of Ajmal Shahzad from Yorkshire. He made just three Championship appearances in 2012 and didn't play again after conceding 42 from 2.3 overs - and 17 off his last three legitimate deliveries - in Lancashire's opening Friends Life t20 defeat to Derbyshire.

Lancashire's director of cricket, Mike Watkinson, said: "We would like to thank Saj for his contribution to the club over the last 10 years and we wish him well for the future."

After being spotted playing in the Bolton Leagues, Mahmood joined Lancashire on a scholarship in 2002 and went on to make his international debut at the age of 22. With more than 300 first-class wickets to his name and the ability to bowl at significant pace, Mahmood should be an attractive prospect for many counties, though he recently admitted that "inconsistency" had dogged his career.

Although he swapped a relegation battle that saw Lancashire drop into Division Two for a spell with the county that eventually finished second to the champions, Warwickshire, Mahmood was mainly signed as cover by Somerset. In three appearances he claimed eight wickets at 30.12 and they may prefer to rely on the emerging Overton twins and Lewis Gregory as fast-bowling back-up for 2013.

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  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    He did ok with us at Somerset. Nothing brilliant, but certainly not as bad as Lancashire fans were telling us. We have enough young talent coming through at the moment to not need Mahmood - these youngsters were wither injured or on international duty hence the loan signing - but I think Mahmood could do a decent job in Div 2 cricket if he keeps his head on the right way. Good luck Saj.

  • Dummy4 on September 20, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    Go well Saj; you've been exhilarating, exasperating, but, most of all, always entertaining for Lancashire. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is Saj's batting - the natural ability is there for him to be a genuine all-rounder. I bet he scores his maiden hundred against Lancashire next season!

  • Simon on September 19, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    I hope he finds a club. Agreed the priority at Somerset is to develop the four devon born u21 fast bowlers (Dibble Gregory, Overton Overton) into the championship winning pack we hope they'll be.

  • Jem on September 19, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    Unfortunately, Saj was the product of Duncan Fletcher's crazy insistence that all fast bowlers needed to bowl at 90mph to be considered for England. This in an era when the world's top two "quickies" were McGrath and Pollock, neither of whom pushed much above 82mph. It seems only since Andy Flower's regime and David Saker's bowling input that England have finally realised that pace is nothing without line and length. People talk about Jimmy Anderson's control of swing but he was always able to swing the ball (and at greater pace than now). His transformation came when he learned to lose the regular 4 balls that he bowled and now gets wickets not just through swing alone but by creating pressure a la McGrath and Pollock. Saj is a really decent guy and as a Lancastrian he goes with my thanks and best wishes wherever he finds himself. He played for England and not many cricketers have done that..

  • Harriet on September 19, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Saj was the first person who sprung to mind when Essex said they were looking at signing a fast bowler, but wouldn't say who. Wonder if a move down south is on the cards.

  • david on September 19, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    well i can understand them letting him go. thers no doubt on his day he an bowl very fast but with little or no line and length and this season we could have used him if he had had those virtues. so maybe a new club will turn that round, but not been nasty i doubt it. we need new blood but with Moores saying he is happy with the squad i find a little unhappy to say the least. i hope they can complete the signing of shahzad on a permanent basis as i think hes a good bowler but we need another bowler and a couple of batters.

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