Mahmood laughs off 'traitor' taunts
by AFP

Player:SI Mahmood
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 9th August 2006


England fast bowler Sajid Mahmood made light of abuse from a section of the Headingley crowd by taking Test best figures in his side's series clinching victory over Pakistan.


Mahmood, whose parents were both born in Pakistan, took four for 22 as England won the third Test by 167 runs here Tuesday to go 2-0 up in the four-match series with just one match left.


Born, in Bolton, north-west England, the 24-year-old cousin of British boxer Amir Khan, was on the receiving end of some barracking by Pakistan supporters.


Afterwards, he told reporters: "It started off pretty light-hearted and then it did get a little bit personal.


"I put that to one side and concentrated on my bowling and I think I bowled pretty well.


"I heard them call me a traitor during my second spell, but I didn't let it affect me.


"I didn't really take much of the banter in. I tried to ignore it and bowl in good areas and try to concentrate on getting the ball fuller."


Mahmood, who reached speeds of 90mph, refused to be intimidated and, after taking his first wicket, cupped his hand behind his ear in a mocking response to his critics.


"They gave me a lot of chat down there on the boundary and then I got that wicket and did that to see what they had to say then," he explained.


"Every time I went down to that corner there was a couple clapping, there were a few hurling abuse so I didn't know what to do. They didn't really shut up even after I got a couple of wickets, they just kept going."


Mahmood's father Shahid, a self-confessed Pakistan fan before his son began playing for England, and brother Rakeb both witnessed Sajid play a leading role as Pakistan, chasing 323 for victory, were bowled out for 155.


"I think my dad had some split loyalties, but I told him he had to support England during this series. I didn't hear him shouting anything, but he probably instigated some of the abuse," joked Mahmood.


It was a welcome return to form for the Lancashire quick who conceded 173 runs in 21 overs during England's one-day international series against Sri Lanka earlier this season.


But Mahmood, who has been working with England bowling coach Kevin Shine, said: "I'm more confident now.


"After picking up only two in the first innings I had a word with Kevin and the other bowlers about where we needed to pitch the ball.


"On this wicket it's a bit slower, it's not like Old Trafford where it's quick and bouncy, so we needed to be a bit fuller and we got our rewards.


"It feels fantastic to get four wickets in a Test innings. They are my best bowling figures and I'm full of confidence - I've put the one-day series behind me now," Mahmood insisted.


Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said Mahmood had the capability to be a threat at Test level. "He's quick, genuinely fast, up in the 90s, which is a good thing. "He's a little bit wayward in terms of his line and length but there is promise there."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)