Do you know how rare that is? Lots of smart-arse Mahmood critics will say that they do know, but that’s not really the point we’re making.
Saj Mahmood has spent a good portion of his career bowling first-change for Lancashire. When there are good bowling conditions, he might pick up two or three wickets. When it’s tough for bowlers, he gets more overs and chips away.
Unlike a lot of people, we still rate Saj Mahmood very highly as a fast bowler. If there’s one criticism we have, it’s of what goes on in his head.
He’s not thick; he’s just got far less experience of running through a batting side than he should have. It’s an unfamiliar experience for him and he maybe doesn’t believe that he can do it. A fast bowler who has demolished a few sides thinks that he can do it again, but this was only Saj Mahmood’s sixth five wicket haul in first-class cricket. 5-55 against Kent isn’t Waqar Younis territory and three were tail-enders, but it’s not bad.
It’s every bowler’s aim, but Saj Mahmood really does need to take a Himalayan-sized heap of wickets this season. He doesn’t need people admiring his reverse swing or clocking his pace. He needs to get loads of batsmen out. He needs to believe that batsmen don’t want to face him.