England pacer reveals he was labelled 'terrorist' for missing India tour in January
England named a relatively fresh squad with plenty of new faces for the New Zealand tour in November. One of the fresh faces to get added into the England squad is Lancashire pacer Saqib Mahmood, who has been wreaking havoc with the ball in domestic cricket. However, it has been a tough journey for Mahmood, who is of Pakistani heritage. Mahmood was labelled a ‘terrorist’ after his Visa got rejected for England Lions’ tour of India in January 2019.
Mahmood was left aghast after people started calling him terrorist despite him doing nothing wrong. The Lancashire pacer said people thought he was plotting something when he was simply going on a cricket tour while adding he tried to forget the horrific experience that he went through.
The 22-year-old has impressed everyone with his raw pace and his ability to seam the ball both ways. In just 16 first-class matches, Mahmood has picked up 42 wickets at a brilliant average of 28.90 and is on course to bag his debut cap when England visit New Zeland in November.
“All of a sudden I was being called a terrorist and I had not done anything wrong,” Mahmood said while adding, “people thought I was plotting something when I was going on a cricket tour. I was getting called not a lot of nice things — I tried to forget about it.”
Mahmood said he was staring at his phone when the team for the New Zealand tour was getting announced. He said it was ‘great feeling, almost a too-good-to-be-true feeling’ when he finally got the call for the upcoming series.
“All morning I was staring at my phone waiting for it to ring. I ended up getting the call just as I thought it was not coming. It was a great feeling, almost a too-good-to-be-true feeling.”
England will play five T20Is and two Test matches (part of ICC World Test Championships) in the tour of New Zealand starting from November 21. Prior to the T20I series, England will play a couple of T20 practice matches with New Zeland XI at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln.