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Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood says conditions were not easy in Kent game

By Josh Fordham

Azhar Mahmood said conditions were tough for his Pakistan team in their tour match at Kent.

The former Kent all-rounder returned to Canterbury with his national side as their bowling coach.

He spent five seasons at the county between 2008 and 2012 and was a popular figure during his spell.

Azhar Mahmood celebrates taking a wicket. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Azhar Mahmood celebrates taking a wicket. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Mahmood said: “It’s always different in the early season. Pitches and grounds are soft so it is difficult for the boys coming from Pakistan with the weather. It’s quite cold for them and it’s not easy.

“I think the boys bowled pretty well on Tuesday. From the first day they didn’t bowl well and were getting used to the weather.

“I thought they bowled well but not as well as we would like them to bowl. We have another game before the Test match.

“The good thing about today is that we were able to get on the field due to the groundsmen and our bowlers had 15 overs each.

“Kent bowled really well and bowled us out for under 200 runs. So they know the conditions well and bowled consistent line and length.

“It was tough as the ball was moving and seaming around. Joe Denly played really well and we know what a good player he is.”

Azhar Mahmood batting in the Friends Provident Trophy Final against Essex in 2008. Picture:Barry Goodwin
Azhar Mahmood batting in the Friends Provident Trophy Final against Essex in 2008. Picture:Barry Goodwin

Mahmood was part of the Kent side who made it to the two finals in 2008, in the 50-over and Twenty20 competitions, but just missed out on silverware.

He also has happy memories of playing against Kent’s assistant coach, Allan Donald, with his three Test match hundreds coming against South Africa.

Mahmood said: “It’s great to be back at Canterbury. It’s my third home, first is Pakistan, second is Surrey and third is here. I always love playing here and the club is great. The hospitality and the love we get here is amazing.

“The other day we were talking about the 97/98 tour and he mentioned about the three hundreds against South Africa, which was very nice of him.

“He was a quality bowler and was always tough to face him and I wish him the best of luck here at Kent."

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Pakistan go on to play Northamptonshire in another tour match before a Test against Ireland and two against England.

Mahmood added: “Our goal is to win the Test series here in England and we are working hard. We have a young side and for a lot of them it is their first time in England.

“It’s a great opportunity for them after Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq leaving cricket for them to play for Pakistan for the next 10 or 15 years.

“I had my time and now this is the time for the young guys to be the heroes for Pakistan. I’m still running in and bowling in the nets.”

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