Mahmood ‘can be next star’

The last England captain to win an Ashes series in Australia, Mike Gatting, believes Lancashire paceman Sajid Mahmood has what it takes to trouble Australia’s batsmen in the same way Simon Jones did in 2005.

Gatting told the BBC, “Mahmood bowled some wonderful spells last summer and some bad ones. He’s the sort of bowler that we need – six foot tall, 90 miles an hour – and he could be as important as Jones was last year if he works on his consistency.

Mahmood has played only five Tests, with best figures of 4-22, but with England still in the midst of a long-term injury crisis, could be in line for an Ashes place next month. Simon Jones himself will miss the series with a knee injury.

Gatting also told the BBC that he believes the Champions Trophy will provide England with a good opportunity to build confidence and fitness, and that Australia have “more questions to answer” ahead of the Ashes series than England do.

England begin their Champions Trophy campaign against India a week from today.

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