Sajid Iqbal Mahmood
December 21, 1981, Bolton, Lancashire
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
A former supermarket shelf-stacker, Sajid Mahmood, whose cousin Amir Khan is a professional boxer, is tall and decidedly rapid, and bowls a fuller length than many of his pace-bowling contemporaries. He was spotted in the Bolton Leagues and joined Lancashire on a scholarship in 2002.
From there, he rose rapidly through the ranks, and despite having only six first-class wickets to his name, he was selected on the England A tour to India and Malaysia in 2003-04. In unhelpful conditions, his wholehearted performances on that trip meant his full England debut was only a matter of time, although he had a chastising experience against New Zealand at Bristol, where his seven overs disappeared for 56 runs.
For a while, he made his name at the expense of his team-mates. In 2003, he put Andrew Flintoff out of action with a beamer in the Old Trafford nets, and later broke Alex Gidman's hand at the ECB Academy. But three years later, he was inflicting the damage on his opponents instead, as he announced his Test arrival against Sri Lanka at Lord's with a fiery three-wicket burst, before overcoming cries of "traitor" from the British Pakistani fans at Headingley, as England sealed the series against his father's former countrymen. But England's management weren't convinced and Mahmood was overlooked for the subsequent Ashes opener at Brisbane, only to be recalled late in the series with no form or confidence to fall back on. Excellent in the field, he again showed promise with the ball in the subsequent World Cup but inconsistency continued to hamper his progress.
When Peter Moores took over as England coach, Mahmood was dumped along with Duncan Fletcher's infatuation with pace above other considerations. Ironically, when Moores took the coaching job at Lancashire in 2009 Mahmood pushed hard for an England recall and was rewarded with a call-up to the one-day squad for South Africa. But all Mahmood's old flaws - the tendency to spray the ball around, and an unfortunate propensity to deliver no-balls - resurfaced in a Centurion T20 horror show: 4-0-61-1. He shuffled from international view once again.
After dropping out of Lancashire's plans and struggling in a loan spell at Somerset, he moved to Essex before the start of the 2013 season. Regretfully for such an amenable figure, it brought no resurgence and with his pace now well down and age and first-class bowling average both now the wrong side of 30, the conclusion that Mahmood has failed to realise his potential was inescapable. He only played 12 matches in two seasons at Essex, taking 11 wickets, and his contract was not renewed.
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