Mahmood arrives fresh and hostile for England battles

The Caribbean proved to be good recruiting ground for the England cricket team during the Test series against India. It was from here, while on England A duty, that Alastair Cook, James Anderson and Owais Shah answered SOS calls from Nagpur when Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick and Simon Jones withdrew from the tour squad.

Each made a valuable contribution during the three-Test series. Cook scored 60 and an unbeaten 104 on his debut, Shah posted 88 and 38 in his maiden Test, and Anderson took 6 for 79 on an impressive return to the side.

Four further players from the England A tour - Vikram Solanki, Gareth Batty, Kabir Ali and Sajid Mahmood - have since become members of the one-day squad and each will be keen to make a similar imprint, starting this morning in a practice game here against a President's XI. Solanki, Batty and Kabir have been involved in the England set-up, off and on, for more than three years. But it is the presence of Mahmood that could make the biggest impression over the course of the seven-match series.

Mahmood is a fast bowler in the Stephen Harmison, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh mould. He is tall, loose-limbed and hostile, and he has arrived in India with his confidence high after an excellent A tour of the West Indies. In two Test matches the 24-year-old took 12 wickets at an average of 12.4, and in five one-dayers he claimed a further 12 wickets at a cost of 16.8.

Mahmood made one unremarkable appearance for England in one-day cricket against New Zealand at Bristol in 2004. He looked nervous in each of his spells and walked off with the unflattering figures of 0 for 56 in seven overs.

Despite his undoubted potential he has found it hard to establish a place in the Lancashire side, playing only seven games in 2005. But Lancashire's reluctance to pick him has not stopped Duncan Fletcher and Troy Cooley talking positively about Mahmood's future.

Fletcher's aim is to have ready-made replacements for every England player, and during the Test series Cook proved himself as an opener, Paul Collingwood and Shah as middle-order batsmen, Monty Panesar as a spinner and Anderson as a replacement swing bowler. The only player missing, aside from a wicketkeeper, is a big, nasty fast bowler who can get bounce out of dead surfaces.

"It is nice to hear the coaches talk about me like that," Mahmood admitted. "All I want to do is play cricket for England. That is my ambition. I'd like to think I am improving all of the time and that when I get my chance I will take it. I see myself more as a Stephen Harmison type of bowler than a Matthew Hoggard. I am an opening bowler and my main aim is to take wickets with the new ball."

Before now Mahmood has gained as much attention for being the cousin of Amir Khan, the boxer who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, as he has for his bowling.

"I got in the ring with him once when I was 17 or 18 and he was about 12 or 13," recalled Mahmood. "I came out of it with a couple of black eyes. It was a bit embarrassing, really, and I vowed never to get back in the ring with him again. I punched and punched him but I kept hitting his guard, and when I dropped mine there he was."

In an effort to get even Mahmood invited Amir to have a bat against him in the nets a year ago. Amir accepted but his advisers would not let Mahmood bowl at him. "Amir has been an inspiration to me," he said. "Getting a silver medal at the Olympics is a great achievement and his professional career is going very well. But whenever I spend time with him we don't really talk about sport, we just chill out."

Having a famous cousin has its benefits, but you get the feeling that Mahmood wants to make a name for himself, and the next three weeks offer him the perfect stage on which to do it.

l Andrew Flintoff has moved up to sixth in the latest ICC Test bowling rankings and up two to 24th in the batting. Australians Ricky Pointing and Matthew Hayden lead the batting rankings, with Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka top of the bowling ahead of the Australian duo Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices We're advocating a popular capitalism that works for all, not a crony corporatism for just the few
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower