Cricket

Saj Mahmood released by Essex

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Essex have decided to part company with former England and Lancashire fast-bowler Saj Mahmood after the paceman's two year contract ended at the end of the 2014 season.

Mahmood has found life difficult in his two seasons at Essex, making just two appearances in the Championship this season and taking only three wickets. In two years at Chelmsford Mahmood has taken only six first-class wickets.

The 32-year-old bowler has fallen from grace after a career that promised so much looks to be fading limply away.

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Career crossroads

Mahmood, whilst at Lancashire, was regarded as a bowler with potentially a great International future. Ultimately though his International career never got going, he only played eight Tests, 26 one-day internationals and four T20 games for England, with his last appearance coming in 2009.

Mahmood's England career was built on the fact that he could bowl fast. However, he never really set the World alight after his debut in May 2006, against Sri Lanka, when he took three wickets in his first four overs in Test cricket.

After this his England career never reached the heights that many expected as he performed inconsistently at International level and was often wayward and expensive. His last Test match, against Australia in January 2007, came just eight months after his debut.

What next?

When Mahmood left Lancashire, after being released at the end of the 2012 season, Paul Grayson, Essex's Head Coach, felt that he had signed a player who had a point to prove after becoming a fringe player at Lancashire and spending some of the season out on loan at Somerset.

Mahmood appeared hungry for success but unfortunately that initial desire has not helped him cement a place in Essex's starting XI.

So what now for Saj Mahmood? Will counties be willing to take a chance on the ex-England international or are his first-class playing days over? Will Mahmood have the desire to continue his cricketing career?

There is no doubt that his ten-year spell at Lancashire was Mahmood's finest spell of his career but that looks set to be consigned to the history books as Mahmood contemplates life after first-class cricket.

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Topics:
England cricket
Cricket

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