Michael Atherton feels Saqib Mahmood could be Stuart Broad’s long-term successor in England’s Test attack after playing starring roles in the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan.
Lancashire quick Mahmood bagged 4-42 in Cardiff last Thursday, including wickets from his first and third deliveries, as England rolled Pakistan for 141 en route to a nine-wicket victory.
The 24-year-old then struck twice more at Lord’s on Saturday – removing Pakistan captain Babar Azam for the second time in three days – as the new-look hosts won by 52 runs to claim a series victory with a game to spare.
Sky Sports Cricket expert and former England captain Atherton thinks Mahmood can now transfer that form into the five-day arena.
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Compared to, well, @Athersmike… 🤔😂@nassercricket compares and contrasts Mahmood's brilliance to some explosive work from Athers! 🎧💥
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“He looks like a bowler who can challenge across formats, thinking ahead to the India and Australia Test matches coming up,” Atherton said of Mahmood, who will be looking to impress again in the third and final ODI against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
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“I’m not wishing Broad away at all, he’s one of England’s all-time greats, but Mahmood looks like the type of bowler who could step into Broad’s shoes.
“He offers accuracy, seam movement and a bit of skill with the old ball when it reverses. He is improving, for sure.”
England vs Pakistan
July 13, 2021, 12:30pm
Mahmood was given his ODI chance after England’s entire initial 16-man squad was forced into isolation following three players and four members of backroom staff testing positive for Covid-19.
Ben Stokes – rushed back into action as stand-in skipper when England had planned for him to continue his recovery from a broken finger by playing for Durham – has been delighted by Mahmood’s impact with the ball.
“Saqqy coming into this team and being the senior bowler has done him the world of good. He hasn’t been fazed by anything,” said Stokes.
“He has been taking the new ball and then I have asked him to come back on in crucial times in both games and he has performed really well.
“I think he loves the occasions where he is the man expected to come on and change the game. He has done it every single time for me.
“It has done him the world of good individually and he is now another player lads are going to have to look over their shoulder for.
“It is very tough to perform as a player when you are in and out all the time or get the odd game here and there but, in these first two games, with the responsibility he has had on his shoulders, he has come out on top.”
Sky Sports’ Rob Key had said after the first one-day international in Cardiff: “I thought Mahmood was outstanding.
“He has that angle in, and just gets the ball to straighten. He is quick – 88, 89mph – and has good control. Plus, he looks a pretty smart bowler as he is constantly setting his own fields.
“We get carried away in England when someone puts in a good performance but I reckon he’s someone who we will start to see in all formats. He’s really enhanced his case.”
Edgbaston will turn #BlueForBob at the third ODI on Tuesday, with the day remembering the late, great Bob Willis and raising awareness of and funds for prostate cancer research.
Former England bowler and Sky Sports commentator Willis passed away from prostate cancer at the age of 70 in December 2019. To donate to the Bob Willis Fund, visit BobWillisFund.org
Watch the #BlueForBob third ODI between England and Pakistan, at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Tuesday
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