Imran, Wasim, Walsh, Ambrose were my heroes, says Sajid Mahmood

London: England fast bowler Sajid Mahmood has said that growing up as a youngster in Lancashire, fast bowling legends Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were his role models and heroes.

“I liked Wasim Akram and Imran Khan and they were really good to watch when I was young. I quite enjoyed watching Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh as a pair, just to see how they bowled,” quoted Mahmood, as saying.

“Both were really relaxed and you didn’t know they could bowl that quick because they were so laid back but when they let the ball go, they were bowling at a really good speed so I really enjoyed watching them. They inspired me, especially when 19 or 20 when I started to up my pace and I looked to their actions to see what they were doing differently to anyone else,” he added.

When asked when did he realize that he was a genuine fast bowler, Mahmood said: “I realized it pretty late - when I was 19 or 20. Before that, I used to play Lancashire U19s and I never really used to bowl that quick, averaging around the low to mid 70s. I used to bat quite a bit and opened the batting and bowling for the Lancashire U-19s.”

“When I was 19 or 20, I started to bowl quickly and the ball was coming out of my hand really well. Lancashire took a keen interest and signed me for a scholarship for the first year. I did a bit of work with Mike Watkinson and the coaching staff at Lancashire just to help fine-tune my bowling action. I was bowling with a lot more pace, clocking in the mid 80s, and got better and better. It was also because I got used to my action a bit more during my professional career,” he added.

When asked what’s the situation like in the Mahmood household when England play against Pakistan, the 29-year-old said: “When I played in 2006 I think there was a lot of media hype about me and my family being from Pakistan and the support in the house being divided. There was general chit-chat within the family and they said “if you do well, we’re happy”. There’s no definite divide in the family about who’s supporting who.”

Mahmood has taken 20 wickets at an average of 38.10 in eight Tests, and 30 wickets in 26 ODIs at an average of 38.94.

Bureau Report

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