City Corporation pays tribute to former England cricketer Sajid Mahmood – Cricket

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Source: Photo by author

LONDON: British Pakistani cricketer Sajid Mahmood, who played international cricket for England and county cricket for Lancashire and Essex, has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

The right-arm medium-fast bowler, who made his debut for Lancashire in 2002 while on a scholarship with the club, attended a ceremony at Guildhall in the Square Mile, with members of his family and friends to receive the prestigious award.

After a successful career, which included his one-day international debut for England against New Zealand in July 2004, playing in the 2006-07 Ashes series and the 2007 World Cup, Sajid is now in charge of cricket at the William Perkin School and set up his own cricket academy.

Sajid was nominated for the award by elected members of the City of London Corporation, Andrien Meyers and James Henry George.

Speaking after his ceremony, Sajid Mahmood said: “It is very special to receive the Freedom to the City of London for something that is very important to me.

“I’ve played cricket at the highest level and represented my country and now my real passion is to help develop the next generation, not only to make them better cricketers, but also better people. In d in other words, to be recognized for this is truly amazing.

“I now very much enjoy my work as Head of Cricket at the William Perkin School and more recently the establishment of the Saj Mahmood Cricket Academy which allows me to help as many young people as possible. I would like to thank my family for their continued support because without them I would not be in the situation I find myself in now.

Andrien Meyers said: “James and I were very pleased to nominate Sajid for his freedom which recognizes not only his notable achievements in cricket at national and local level but also the way he now passes on his skills to young people.”

James Henry George said: “Sajid is clearly both humbled and honored to have been given the freedom of the City of London, of which we are justly proud.

“He will surely be delighted to know that he is following in the footsteps of other distinguished cricketers including Sir Andrew Strauss, Michael Holding and Sir Alastair Cook.”

One of the ancient traditions of the City of London, Liberty is said to have begun in 1237 and allowed recipients, who were also to join a Livery Company, to ply their trade.

As well as being nominated or applying for the Freedom, it is also offered by the City of London Corporation to individuals to honor their outstanding contribution to London or public life, or to celebrate a very significant achievement.

Speaking to The News and Geo, Sajid Mahmood said he was humbled and honored to receive the award.

Sajid Mahmood has urged Britain’s Asian youth never to give up on their dream of playing cricket professionally. He also asked parents to believe in the system, despite all the negative media around racism in the game, giving the example of many former and current and former Asian cricketers such as Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Saqib Mahmood, Ravi Bopara, Monty Panesar and Owais shah to name a few, all of whom have had very long and lucrative careers in the game.

Sajid Mahmood started playing cricket aged eight for Bolton Indians but played most of his youth cricket at Astley Bridge. He himself had a lucky break into the county system. After trying 3 times for Lancashire and failing in all three attempts, he never stopped believing. His opportunity came when one of the bowlers in the U17 age group got injured and Sajid came on as a substitute for a few games. He performed well with both bat and ball in both games which made it difficult for the club to leave him out of the setup. 4 years later, he made his England debut one day. He has now set up the Saj Mahmood Cricket Academy, to help young cricketers improve and expose them to county coaches, giving them a greater chance of playing at a better level of cricket.

His father, Shahid Mahmood, played an important role in making Sajid achieve what he did. Shahid himself was a very good league cricketer and supported Sajid throughout his career. Take her to games and practice wherever that may have been. Even taking days off to ensure Sajid had the best support to help him achieve his dream of one day playing professionally.

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