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England’s 24-year-old pace bowler Saqib Mahmood is very keen on making his debut for the Test team in the ongoing 5-match Test series against India. He earned the call-up to the squad as a cover after Stuart Broad was ruled out of the series following a calf muscle injury.
Saqib was impressive in the limited-overs series against Pakistan when they came to the UK last month. He won the Player of the Series award in the ODI’s after picking up nine wickets in three matches. He was instrumental in England’s 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan.
Claiming Test cricket as the ‘pinnacle’, Saqib expressed his desire to earn a Test cap very soon. He has been in good form in red-ball cricket, having played for the Lancashire side in County cricket.
“A Test cap would mean so much more than anything else. For me, it’s still the pinnacle, and if I had to play just one format for England, it would be Test cricket. It’s five days of real graft. I’ve not played in a five-day win yet, but there’s nothing like a four-day victory with Lancashire going down to the last session.”
“You’ve got a ball in your hand, and you have to take wickets. We had a Roses win this season, and that was the best day I’ve had on a cricket field. If I’m ever able to do that in an England shirt, it would be amazing,” he was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.
“I feel more ready now than a year ago” – Saqib Mahmood on the prospect of playing Tests
Saqib Mahmood divulged that he has been preparing for the longest format of the game since he was a youngster. Although it’s impossible to know if one’s ready for the match, Saqib claimed he is in the best shape – both mentally and physically – to debut for England’s Test team.
“From a young age, I’ve been preparing. Test cricket is the hardest form of the game, with the level of scrutiny. I remember my old bowling coach Kevin Shine always used to look at my technical stuff, and there was a time when I was almost over-technical. I would ask about everything in my action, and he asked why.”
“I said that if I ever play Tests for England, which is what I want to do, and a guy in the TV studio is ripping my action apart, I want to know whether I should ignore their advice or learn from it. This is the best position I’ve been in to potentially play, and I feel more ready now than (I was) a year ago,” Saqib added.
Competing with Saqib will be Craig Overton, who has also been impressive and was in the squad for the first two Tests. It will be compelling to see if England makes any changes and include either of the two in the playing XI.
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