February 25, 1997, Birmingham, Warwickshire
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Matthew Moss High School, Rochdale
Saqib Mahmood announced himself as a bowler of international class during England's ODI series against Pakistan in 2021. England were forced to pick a completely new squad at short notice after a number of Covid-19 cases were detected in their initial group leaving Mahmood to take the new ball in the first ODI in Cardiff; he dismissed Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam inside three balls, finished with 4 for 42, and was named player of the series as England romped to a 3-0 win.
Mahmood's powerful physique and impressive pace meant that the ECB have kept close tabs on him since his teenage years, and he earned a maiden England call-up after an impressive 2019 season for Lancashire. While able to move the new ball with conventional swing and seam movement, Mahmood stands out most when reversing the ball later in an innings, and has been clocked at 90mph/145kph.
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. While opportunities were often scarce for Lancashire, 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.
A side strain meant he missed almost all of the 2018 summer, but he returned to Lions duty that winter, though visa hold-ups, caused in part by his Pakistani heritage, meant he missed the series against India A. He was player of the tournament in the 2019 One-Day Cup, leading the wicket-taking charts with 28, and his form across all formats meant a call-up to England's Test and T20I squads for the New Zealand tour in 2019-20 - plus a pace-bowling development contract, which gave him access to the ECB's S&C staff and nutritionists.
Mahmood was expensive in his three T20Is on that tour but enjoyed working with Darren Gough, who imparted some wisdom regarding reverse-swing and presented him with his ODI cap in Johannesburg in early 2020. He slipped down the white-ball pecking order after a disappointing summer that year but turned up at the PSL in 2021 with a point to prove and was the competition's leading wicket-taker when it was interrupted by Covid.
He remained on the fringes of England's squads that summer across formats and impressed for Lancashire in his sporadic Championship appearance, taking a maiden first-class five-for during a spell with the old ball in a Roses win against Yorkshire.
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