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CW Worst 15 Cricketers of All Time - The Results

thierry henry

International Captain
Cheers Kippax- so I think it's fair to say that Bell did indeed have 3 incarnations. Promising youngster, youngster who had gone back to the drawing board and changed his technique but ended up still being crap at international cricket, and elder statesman given one last go.


Hall of Fame Member
Number 6=: Sajid Mahmood

Highest Ranking 3
Total Points 15
Number of Votes Received 2/13

The two word phrase "much maligned". It's fair to say that it can be used in more than one context - the first is when there's a player who's very successful, but for whatever reason is seen as overrated or not as good as his supporters would have you believe. An example of this first category might be Jacques Kallis. The second type of player is one of very few people have a good word to say - someone who has maintained a career at the top level of a sport without showing a vast amount of aptitude for the career that they have chosen as their profession. An example of this type might be Mohammad Sami.

It is fair to say that Sajid Iqbal Mahmood falls in to the latter category rather than the former.

Born in Lancashire, he was stacking shelves at a local supermarket when he was spotted playing in the Bolton leagues and at the age of 22, he signed for Lancashire. At that time, his main weapon was his pace and wholehearted commitment. After only a handful of first class appearances for Lancashire, he was called up to the England A tour of India. To be fair, he had been picked on potential and with more than half an eye on the OD squad. His performance against East Zone in India was certainly reasonable, dismissing a couple of seasoned players in the match, amongst a very disappointing tour for the As. In the one dayers, he was probably the standout bowler for England in another disappointing set of matches. His positive attitude and ability to run in hard on unfavourable decks had his potential marked down early on. Even early on, there were a few signs that his lack of control could cause issues, including taking Andrew Flintoff out of the 2003 Zimbabwe series by bowling a beamer which struck him on the shoulder.

So, onto Mahmood's relatively brief international career. His Test career was certainly supported by Duncan Fletcher's then obsession with pace and zip over accuracy, subtlety and guile. His debut against Sri Lanka was reasonable enough - decent economy, not a single no ball and a couple of decent wickets - still, not enough to win England the match on a benign deck at Lord's. His first innings wickets were decent - Sangakkara firstly misjudging one to end up caught in the slips before he bowled a quicker in-seamer to pin Samaraweera Lbw and followed it up shortly after with a classic fast bowler's full inswinger to take Kapugedera - also Lbw. The follow up at Edgbaston was decent enough, with 2 cheap wickets in a six wicket win.

So, the early results were good. Where did it go wrong?

Well, there was that inaccuracy and inconsistency we were talking about earlier. His third Test was a solid win against Pakistan, but whilst that beacon of reliability Steve Harmison was taking 11 wickets (and going at less than 2 an over in the first innings), Mahmood was trusted with only a third of the overs of Harmison and went at 5s - particularly guilty of bowling too wide to Mohammad Yousuf. To be fair to Mahmood, the pressure was put on him by an English-Pakistani contingent in the crowd who regularly decried him as a "traitor". This 'feedback' was most keenly felt at Headingley where Mahmood enjoyed his best match of the series, bowling particularly well to Kamran Akmal and putting in a solid spell in the 2nd innings in particular. He regressed in the final test (the infamous Oval Test where Pakistan refused to come out to play after Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove ruled there had been a ball tampering incident) and was treated particularly harshly by that destroyer of all-comers, Imran Farhat.

Mahmood was then dropped.

...Until the third Test of the 2006-07 Ashes whitewash. He played at Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. I had the misfortune to watch England play at Melbourne and Sydney in that series and it's fair to say that Mahmood readily took on the role of scapegoat for some risible bowling performances. Mahmood was trusted with fewer overs and went at a much higher economy rate as any width or inconsistency was seized on. His highlight was definitely in Melbourne as he took a decent four wicket haul, but it was at the end of an Australian innings when all the damage had already been done - England had needed that from Mahmood 200 runs earlier. Was this the height of England fans' anguish at his selection? Well, perhaps not - he'd seemingly always flattered to deceive, and even when he did deliver great spells - like that on his debut at Lord's or that 4 wicket haul at Melbourne, it was usually surrounded by dross.

After the Ashes, Fletcher was sacked and Peter Moores appointed. He immediately dropped Saj Mahmood who went back to first class cricket to work on his consistency. He duly did and made a brief comeback in England colours, but only in the limited overs formats. His problems with no balls and wides came to the fore again, and his last international stomping ground would be Centurion, where in a T20 international, he was pummelled for 61 runs in 4 overs.

Another return to first class cricket followed, where he again struggled and was eventually dropped by Lancashire. A short loan spell at Somerset was followed by him signing for Essex (the bastard). There, he played only 12 matches in 3 seasons and took only 11 wickets across all formats. After averaging 68 in first class cricket across those 3 seasons, Essex released him and that was the end of his career.

He also starred in a cricket-based film, Victory in 2009. It's fair to say his acting career was as inconsistent as his cricketing career as the film bagged only 3.9 on imdb and was only marginally improved upon when he appeared in the mystery guest round on A Question of Sport; appearing as a pet shop customer overly intrigued by rabbits and scared witless of tarantulas. Much like his over-appreciation of the wide long hop and apparent fear of bowling a consistent line and length.

Career Highlight

That Centurion T20I:


What they said about him

Richard finally says something we can all agree with:

May as well put it out there in my opening post that Mahmood is the 2nd-worst seam-bowler I've ever seen play Test cricket for a Test-class team. Should also mention that I did not see Patterson Thompson.
Saj Mahmood is average... His accuracy is reprehensible, and why wouldn't it be - he has an action with no sort of rhythm whatsoever...
Sledger breaks his Cricket Chat habit of critiquing Sachin Tendulkar to do the same for Saj:

He's about as dire as it gets in terms of players to play for England throughout the last 10 years tbh, if we never see him play for England again it really will be too soon.
Mark Gillespie is pretty darn mediocre, which is several steps up from Saj Mahmood.
Cribb disagrees with everyone else:

I agree; he's a quality First Class bowler. That should be respected more than in it on this forum.
_Ed_ - well, he's right. He's not the worst player to play for England, but at best (according to this countdown), he's 6th worst.

Saj Mahmood, tbf. He's hardly a good player, but you'd think he was the worst ever to play for England reading some of the posts here.

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
Was surprised to see I'd rated Saj. Clicked through to the post to see I was just being a pedantic arsehole and/or had been getting annoyed with people referring to good First Class cricketers as '****' if they couldn't cut it in international cricket, for some reason.

I agree; he's a quality First Class bowler. That should be respected more than in it on this forum.

However, he's not Test standard and I highly doubt he ever will be. He's certainly isn't a quality Test bowler.
He's not a bowler who should be really pushing for Test honours, no. But when you consider the amount of First Class teams in England, he'd be in the top third of frontline bowlers, I'd say. I could be wrong as there are quite a few I haven't really analysed extensively and even more who I've never actually seen bowl a spell, but I'd think he'd generally walk into most counties and find a spot immediately.


likes this
Was surprised to see I'd rated Saj. Clicked through to the post to see I was just being a pedantic arsehole and/or had been getting annoyed with people referring to good First Class cricketers as '****' if they couldn't cut it in international cricket, for some reason.

Henry Saj Mahmood


Hall of Fame Member
TBF both Watson and Rohit will be remembered as limited overs bosses (while Rohit still has a chance to end with a good test career, who knows)

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
Sreesanth, Watson
List is more about players who made me look stupid in the very game I was hyping them up during, I think, otherwise it'd be full of Gangas, Sibandas and Sinclairs.

Grant Elliott's comeback ODI where he played literally the worst innings I've ever seen should probably get him in there.


Hall of Fame Member
FFS. This thread isn't just about Cribb's foibles! Poor Saj - can't even get a decent audience in his natural home. Why do I bother?


Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Saj could look like such a good player, just a shame he almost never played like one, and when he did it was usually with the bat


State Vice-Captain
I'm thoroughly enjoying this thread. You are the George R. R. Martin of Cricketweb, HDS.

Prince EWS

Global Moderator
I can exclusively reveal that the top six were as follows:

1Ian Salisbury56
2Mohammad Ashraful22
3Mohammad Sami20
4Alok Kapali17
5Gavin Hamilton17
6Floyd Reifer15



International Coach
Heath you biased bastard, picking 2 Lancashire legends. Clearly jealousy.

Pretty sure Mr Schofield was my avatar for a long time in my early days here...


Hall of Fame Member
would have loved write-ups for Ashraful, Hamilton and Salisbury.

Wasn't Hamilton actually pretty damn good?