PSL 2019

Azhar Mahmood happy to help England bowlers

Former cricketer Azhar Mahmood has no qualms about coaching England during the ongoing Twenty20 series, saying he is happy to “pass on my experience” regardless of nationality.

Mahmood, 45, appeared in 164 international matches for Pakistan and was the bowling coach under Mickey Arthur before a new regime led by former captain Misbahul Haq was installed last year after a disappointing World Cup.

Now Mahmood, who knows many of the England coaching staff from his time in county cricket, has been brought in as a bowling consultant by the hosts for the three-match T20 series in Manchester.

“Cricket has given me a lot,” Mahmood told AFP in a telephone interview on Saturday. “Now I want to pass on my experience — it doesn’t matter whether a player is from England or Pakistan or wherever.”

Mahmood, criticised within Pakistan for his England role, said his situation was no different from the one he often found himself in as an in-demand all-rounder.

“I’m a professional, I’ve played in leagues with different teams,” he explained. “I know my role.”

England head coach Chris Silverwood has handed over the reins for the series to assistant Graham Thorpe, a former England batsman who played alongside Mahmood at Surrey.

Another England connection is with white-ball captain Eoin Morgan — he was with Mahmood when the former Pakistan international was coaching Karachi in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“They have seen my ability working with players,” Mahmood said. “Eoin Morgan told me: ‘We know your skills’. They are a really great bunch of people, the England coaching staff, and this is a great opportunity for me.”

With 50-over world champions England so far maintaining separate red and white-ball squads in a season compressed by the coronavirus outbreak, they are without frontline bowlers such as Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer for the Pakistan T20s.

That means more opportunities for young pacemen including Saqib Mahmood and Tom Curran, although they did not bowl during Friday’s weather-curtailed match at Old Trafford, which ended with no result.

Mahmood, a BBC television analyst during Pakistan’s 1-0 loss to England in a Test series earlier this month, believes it is his experience of working with youthful quicks, as much as any inside knowledge, that may have led England to invite him to join their set-up.