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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam