Saj learns from Aussie spell
SAJID Mahmood believes his recent spell of playing Twenty20 cricket in Australia will help him become a better bowler.
Lancashire’s Bolton-born pace man endured a tough six weeks in a Western Australia shirt, taking only five wickets in his five matches and being hit for an average of 10 runs per over.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old is thankful for having experienced bowling at the likes of West Indian Kieron Pollard, who is regarded as the biggest hitter in world cricket.
Mahmood said: “The first few games didn’t really go to plan, but to be involved and learn was great. The last couple of games then went pretty well. Overall, the experience was fantastic and I took a lot from it.”
Mahmood’s best game came in a clash with Tasmania at Hobart last month when he took 2-16 from his three overs.
But that was not before he had returned forgettable figures of 1-39 from two overs against South Australia at Perth when Pollard teed off.
“I thought I was bowling okay until he rocked up,” Mahmood added. “He’s a great player and Twenty20 is his game.
“I’ve been trying to work on my yorkers. I didn’t execute them well that game and got punished, but I’ve been looking to improve that since I’ve been back. It’s been going well.”
One aspect of domestic 20-over cricket in Australia which surprised Mahmood was the aggression shown by the batsmen.
He explained: “The way they play their Twenty20 cricket is totally different to how we do over here. They go from ball one to the last ball. They try to hit sixes and fours – and if they don’t hit them that well, they’ll get two or three.
“In England, you have a phase early on where you perhaps look to nudge the ball and hit the odd boundary.
“As a bowler, there’s more pressure on you to execute your skills. That stuff can only make you a better player.”
Westhoughton’s St George’s Oval ground will host a one-day friendly between Lancashire Second XI and a Cheshire Development XI on Friday, April 29.
Mahmood was speaking at the launch of a charity partnership between Lancashire CCC and Macmillan Cancer Support at Old Trafford. The Red Rose county are aiming to raise £20,000.