Saqib Mahmood named in England's Pace Programme
Lancashire bowler Saqib Mahmood has been named in England Cricket's 2017 Pace Programme.
Mahmood will join Paul Coughlin, George Garton and Matt Taylor in a two-week training camp at the High Performance Institute for Sport at North West University’s Potchefstroom campus from January 26 to February 10
James Fuller, Jamie Overton, Reece Topley and Mark Wood have also been added to the programme that will head to South Africa as part of England cricket’s Pace Programme.
Kevin Shine, the ECB’s lead fast-bowling coach, said: “We have made a few changes to the group originally selected, and I think it’s left us with a really nice balance.
“Tom Helm has gone to England Lions which is fantastic – exactly what we want to happen, and I’m sure he’ll benefit from the chance to play red-ball and white-ball cricket out in Sri Lanka.
“But in addition to the four young bowlers we selected with Tom in the autumn, we’ll have three more experienced guys who are all on their way back from injury – and the chance to come out and work with us outside in South Africa in the superb facilities in Potchefstroom works well both for the players and their counties.
“Jamie Overton and Reece Topley are both recovering from stress fractures that they suffered last summer, and Mark Wood will also be able to continue the work he’s started at the Performance Centre in Loughborough.
“That gives us a real focus as well. Woody and Saqqy have been picked for the North-South series in the UAE in March, and James Fuller will also be with us in South Africa ahead of joining the Lions for the one-day section of their Sri Lanka trip in March.
“For Reece, Jamie and the other guys, they’re working towards the start of the county season – and with counties tending to go away earlier to start their pre-season programmes now, the time on the Pace Programme will help to ensure they hit them well-prepared.”
The Pace Programme has been running since October 31, with the four bowlers originally selected – Coughlin, Garton, Mahmood, Taylor and Helm – splitting their time between their counties and the Performance Centre in a six-week training block.
They will begin their return to bowling programme at the Performance Centre in January, along with Overton, Topley and Wood, before heading to South Africa, where the availability of outdoor training provides obvious benefits.
Shine developed the programme – previously called the Potential England Performance Programme – more than a decade ago. “The aim is to reinforce the physical and technical foundations required for international fast bowling,” he explained. “It allows us to work with our best young fast bowlers in a winter training block. Previously we’d only had short camps of between two and four weeks, but now we can do physical training work before Christmas and join that up with the bowling block in the New Year, so effectively we have a five-month training period.”
Shine will be joined in Potchefstroom by Pete Atkinson, the ECB’s national lead for strength and conditioning, and the staff will be completed by Alan Richardson, the former Worcestershire seamer who is now the bowling coach at Warwickshire, and the Essex lead physiotherapist Chris Clarke-Irons.
“We’re delighted to have Richo and Chris coming out with us this year,” Shine added. “We always like to have an input from the counties, both because it’s very beneficial to us, but also so we can work with the county coaches and they can see what we’re trying to do.”
Pace Programme, January/February 2017: Paul Coughlin (Durham), James Fuller (Middlesex), George Garton (Sussex), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Matthew Taylor (Gloucestershire), Reece Topley (Hampshire), Mark Wood (Durham).