Saq: Hundred does add up for cricket
SAQIB Mahmood has urged people to have an ‘open mind’ about The Hundred when it starts next season.
There have been plenty of critics questioning the need for the ECB’s new flagship competition.
Lancashire fast bowler Mahmood will be playing for the Manchester Originals, based at Emirates Old Trafford, after being selected as one of two ‘local icons’ - the other being Red Rose spinner Matthew Parkinson.
Several big names have been signed up for the eight-team, citybased tournament - including Australia’s Steve Smith.
Yet critics say the competition will damage county cricket, with players leaving their clubs mid-way through the season to join up with their sides in The Hundred.
And there are also concerns over the 50-over competition, which is to run at the same time as The Hundred.
But Mahmood, who has spent the last few months with England in New Zealand as part of the one-day and Test squads, believes people need to give the new tournament a try before dismissing it.
He told M.E.N. Sport: “I am over the moon to be able to carry on playing my cricket at Old Trafford in The Hundred. I love playing there.
“There are critics and, as a player, you have to be aware that these are the guys who are extremely passionate about the county game and don’t want to see it fall.
“And for me as a player, it is nice to see how many people care about the county game. But you have to have an open mind.
“What I am looking forward to most is that there are only eight teams as opposed to 18, so the standard will be very high.
“And as a player you want to play against the best guys and play against the best teams. That’s what we will get with this competition.
“You want to replicate international conditions as much as you can. Look at the success of the IPL, they have high calibre players playing.
“Now in The Hundred we have the best players in the country playing with some of the best players in the world.
“People should have an open mind, and I am sure people didn’t take to T20 too well when that started. People might be surprised.”
Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood