Sajid targets 500 runs for Red Rose

Sajid Mahmood says keeping it simple has been the key to his improved batting this season.

The Lancashire fast bowler has been wielding the willow with great effect, especially in the LV=County Championship where he has scored 460 runs in 11 matches.

He has notched five half centuries in four-day cricket, and was also promoted to bat at number five during the Friends Provident Twenty20 quarter-final against Essex last month.

The 28-year-old from Bolton, who will play in today’s Championship match against table toppers Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, said: “There’s no magic equation or whatever you want to say.

“It’s all very simple really. I just go out there, see it and hit it.

“Last year I was perhaps worrying too much about my technique – where my arm is, my head and my feet – and it took a lot of my concentration off the ball.

“This year I’ve literally decided to watch the ball. If it’s there, I’ll hit it. If it’s not, I won’t. That’s almost helped my balance at the crease.

“Sometimes I have wanted to go out there looking technically correct. But I’m a number eight, and I don’t think I’ll ever look technically correct. So I’ve just decided to go out there and watch the ball.”

This is Mahmood’s most prolific season with the bat by a country mile. He had never topped the 233 runs he scored in 2004.

He continued: “Over the past three or four years, at the beginning of each season, I’ve said to Alan West, our scorer, ‘I’m going to get 500 runs this time’.

“But it’s never occurred. Last year, with my last knock, I just got up to 100, and it was disappointing. It’s been good to just get close to 500 with four games left.

“Hopefully I can get a lot more than 500 because runs down the order can be quite important.”

Mahmood has recorded notable scores of 52, 64, 72, 58, 42, 21 not out, 20, 60 and 41 not out in the Championship, the latter two both coming in last week’s win against Kent at Canterbury.

His career best is 94, which he scored against Sussex at Old Trafford in 2004.

And he obviously wants to better that before mid September.

He added: “Getting runs has given me a lot of confidence. I’ve got a few 50s, but now I want to step it up and get a ton.”

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