Mahmood keen to impress English selectors

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Lancashire seamer Sajid Mahmood said he was relishing the chance to impress World Cup selectors after being named in the England 'A' team to face Sri Lanka in a four-day match at Worcester, starting on May 4.

The 24-year-old will line up alongside ten other players vying for World Cup recognition, including Durham's Liam Plunkett, Surrey all-rounder Rikki Clarke and Hampshire seamer Chris Tremlett.

With the fitness of Steve Harmison (shin) still uncertain for the first Test, while Simon Jones has only just returned after missing the winter with knee and ankle injuries, the stage is set for Mahmood to impress.

"It's great to get another England opportunity," said Mahmood, the cousin of boxer Amir Khan.

"It would be a dream come true to get into the squad for the World Cup in the West Indies next winter but that won't happen unless I get a lot of wickets for Lancashire."

Mahmood impressed on the 'A' tour to the Caribbean this winter, which earned him a call-up into England's One-day squad for the recent series in India.

He was inconsistent in his first match at Goa, conceding 66 runs in his eight overs, but showed his potential by returning respectable figures of three for 37 in his next match at Jamshedpur.

"It was a bit of a shock to be called out to India, but with injuries to Simon Jones and Steve Harmison it was a case of all hands on deck," he said.

"After that first game I think I learned a lot and to have Jimmy Anderson out there with me was great and helped me a great deal."

Kent's Robert Key will captain the side, which will be bidding to prevent Sri Lanka gaining confidence ahead of the opening Test at Lord's on May 11.

"We want them to put the opposition under as much pressure as possible for the four days and deny them the practice they will want before the Test," said chairman of selectors David Graveney.

"This is no difference to what we face when we're abroad and we face sides packed with guys who aspire to be in the main team."

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