Gough backs Mahmood bid

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Darren Gough

Darren Gough © Getty Images

Darren Gough is in no doubt Sajid Mahmood has all the right credentials to be an England strike bowler for many years to come.

Twenty-five-year-old Mahmood, expected to be back playing for Lancashire later this month after a double hernia operation, has so far played eight Tests and 25 one-day internationals.

Gough, England’s most successful limited-overs bowler, is not advocating Mahmood should necessarily be fast-tracked back into his country’s one-day plans.

But speaking after a second successive washout in the Roses match at Old Trafford, the Yorkshire captain nominated the Lancastrian as a significant international player of the future.

“If England need a strike bowler and (Steve) Harmison is not playing (in one-day cricket) then Sajid Mahmood is obviously the next one,” he said. “He needs to step up to the next level now.

Sajid Mahmood

Sajid Mahmood underwent a double hernia operation in early June © Getty Images

“But he’s got everything; he bowls at 90mph; he has a good slower ball - and he takes wickets.

“Unfortunately at the minute, he goes for a few too many (runs). But he has all the tools you need to be a good strike bowler for England in one-day cricket.”

Gough’s prescription for Mahmood’s rehabilitation is a return to county colours to continue his learning curve.

“He has to work hard and play a bit more domestic one-day stuff for his county,” said the 36-year-old, who confirmed he too is still available for limited-overs internationals.

“When he’s bowling well he’s as good as anyone. But when you’re just playing Test cricket and one-day internationals you don’t get a chance to really learn your game ... Saj needs to do that.”

Meanwhile, Gough is remaining optimistic some meaningful action in the Roses clash may still be possible, but ruled out the possibility of a one-innings match which would take place should no play be possible before the start of the final session on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping it doesn’t rain again, leave the covers off overnight and hope to get two days’ cricket - because both teams obviously need to get runs and wickets,” he reported.

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