Mohali: In Twenty20, Azhar Mahmood is a proven warhorse.
Even though his last international appearance for Pakistan came in 2007, the all-rounder has effortlessly made the shortest format his forte.
He now travels around the world, playing for different clubs and sharing his knowledge of the game with the youngsters.
His T20 resume swells with the name of clubs like Kings XI Punjab, Auckland Aces, Cape Cobras, Sydney Thunder, Barisal Burners, Dhaka Gladiators and even the Lahore Badshahs of now forgotten Indian Cricket League.
Here with the Kings XI Punjab for the last two seasons, Mahmood believes the bowlers have re-invented themselves in this format to compete with the batsmen.
“There are many theories of how you bowl in T20. But I always believe that you have to be attacking to take wickets. You have to attack the stumps. If you can get the wicket of someone like Kieron Pollard then there is nothing like that,” Mahmood told MAIL TODAY. “Yes, it is still very much a batsmen’s game. As a bowler you have to improve your skills. But the bowlers have stepped up and that is why you see batsmen innovate and play shots like scoops."
“There has to be a competition between bat and ball. As bowlers will try and find out ways to get wickets, the batsmen will look to find new strokes to score,” said the crafty medium-pacer.
Mahmood is the only Pakistani playing in the IPL as he now has a British passport. “I have enjoyed every bit of my stay here"
The Kings XI convincingly won their opening match against Pune Warriors and Mahmood found it to be a big positive for the team. “In fact, it is the first time that Kings XI won their opening match. It is a good sign. We had the same bowling attack last year too, but we have strengthened the batting this season. Young players like Manan Vohra have been with the team and they have taken up the responsibility."
“As a senior player, my role is not only to give my best on the field, but also to guide the youngsters. I try and teach the young players wherever I go and it is same here,” said the 38-year-old all-rounder from Rawalpindi.
No matter how much he excels in Twenty20, Test cricket remains close to his heart. At one point, Mahmood was regarded as a prodigiously talented all-rounder, but many such potential have died at the whims of Pakistan cricket.
Few would remember that Mahmood started his Test career with a century on debut against South Africa in 1997, and a year later slammed two more against the Proteas in Johannesburg and Durban.
Why and how Mahmood fell off the radar is still a mystery to cricket fans. He wouldn’t delve into the past much.
“Both Twenty20 and Test cricket will co-exist. But Test cricket is the ultimate test of the skill of a player for over five days,” he stressed.
“I am fortunate to be able to travel around to play Twenty20. As long as I am fit and I am enjoying my game, I would continue to play cricket.”
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.