Cricket

Saqib Mahmood: Lancashire fast bowler aspiring for England call up

Lancashire kick off their County Championship away to Essex on Friday.

Young Lancashire fast bowler Saqib Mahmood says that his winter experience in the ‘North v South’ series was a positive one and that he hopes to have caught the attention of the England selections.

The 20-year-old made his debut at Emirates Old Trafford last season, and his ability to bowl at near 90mph has caught England attention already.

He was placed on specialist winter programmes before taking part in the inaugural series of the North’s best against the South, in Dubai last month.

“I think the North vs South series was a really good series,” he said.

“I was glad to be a part of it because I learnt a lot about my game out there, being exposed to different conditions that I’ve never been exposed to over here and bowling at different parts of the game.

“Just to be in a dressing room surrounded by the guys who have played for England is a huge step and I didn’t feel out of my depth at all which was a positive.

“I guess it can be quite nerve wracking with all the selectors around but I just tried to take it all in my stride which I think I did. Hopefully I’ve managed to make a positive impression.”

Mahmood, has now had a full pre-season of training under new Lancashire head coach, and former team-mate Glen Chapple, hopes to build on 17 first-class appearances so far in the coming campaign.

Chapple was named as the new boss back in January after the departure of Ashley Giles.

“I’ve had a good winter, a lot of my winter before Christmas was spent at Loughborough and that was all about getting stronger, in the gym doing a lot of running and training,” he said.

“Since the turn of the New Year I’ve been doing more work on my bowling, I’ve been out to South Africa on a training camp just bowling out there before playing in the North v South series.

“I’m really happy that he’s got the job, he’s someone the lads respect a lot as a player and as a coach through what he’s achieved in his playing career with Lancs.

“With pre-season and the way he’s been so far he’s created a really good environment here and I think the lads are really looking forward to getting going competitively under him.”

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