Azhar Mahmood

Azhar Mahmood Sagar (Punjabi: اظہر محمود ساگر; born 28 February 1975) is a Pakistani cricket coach and former cricketer. He was the bowling coach of the Pakistani national cricket team till 2019.

Azhar Mahmood
اظہر محمود
Azhar Mahmood.jpg
Azhar Mahmood in 2015
Personal information
Born (1975-02-28) 28 February 1975 (age 46)
Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)[1]
BowlingRight-arm medium-fast
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 146)6 October 1997 v South Africa
Last Test31 May 2001 v England
ODI debut (cap 108)16 September 1996 v India
Last ODI17 March 2007 v Ireland
Domestic team information
1995/96–1996/97United Bank Limited
2002–2007; 2013–2016Surrey
2006/07–2010/11Habib Bank Limited
2006/07–2010/11Islamabad Leopards
2012Dhaka Gladiators
2012–2013Kings XI Punjab
2012/13Sydney Thunder
2013Barisal Burners
2013Cape Cobras
2013Barbados Tridents
2015Kolkata Knight Riders
2016Islamabad United
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 21 143 176 319
Runs scored 900 1,521 7,703 4,555
Batting average 30.00 18.10 31.83 22.00
100s/50s 3/1 0/3 9/42 2/19
Top score 136 67 204* 101*
Balls bowled 3,015 6,242 29,798 13,952
Wickets 39 123 611 348
Bowling average 35.94 39.13 25.10 31.37
5 wickets in innings 0 3 27 5
10 wickets in match 0 0 3 0
Best bowling 4/50 6/18 8/61 6/18
Catches/stumpings 14/– 37/– 142/– 95/–
Source: ESPNCricinfo, 22 January 2016

Previously, he played Tests and ODIs for Pakistan national cricket team and county cricket in England. Azhar is a dual British citizen.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Azhar Mahmood's wedding ceremony was held in 2003; his wife is British.[3]

Domestic careerEdit

As a teenager, Azhar was mentored by Irfan Bhatti who played a One Day International for Pakistan in the early 1990s. Originally his father objected to his interest in cricket, but later started to appreciate it seeing his accomplishments. When not doing net practice, Azhar would fancy himself playing tape ball cricket on the cemented pitch in the cricket ground in front of his home.[4]

He played county cricket for Surrey[5] and in November 2007 signed a two-year deal to play for Kent.[6]

Azhar became a British citizen in 2011.[2] This allowed him to play for Kent as an English-qualified player, further distancing himself from a recall to the Pakistan side.[6]

It was announced that Azhar would be playing for the Auckland Aces as one of their overseas professionals in the 2011/12 season.[7] In the 2012 IPL auction, Mahmood was sold to Kings XI Punjab for $200,000, double his base price of $100,000. In 2015, he was signed by KKR as replacement for James Neesham and played a few matches but was dropped from the squad the very next season.[8]

He along with Isuru Udana set the highest 8th wicket partnership in all forms of T20s (120) during the inaugural SLPL league in 2012.[9][10]

International careerEdit

Early daysEdit

Azhar made his One-Day International debut against India in 1996 at Toronto Cricket Club, Toronto,[11] but did not gain major recognition until his Test debut against South Africa the following year at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi when he hit a century and a half-century without being dismissed.[12] He later went on to score two more centuries against the South Africans.

He joined the Pakistani team primarily as a medium pacer but he has surprised many by his batting powers. His hard hitting but orthodox batting skills have also been extremely useful in the one-day game. Unlike most Pakistani pacers who are swing bowlers, he is a useful English-style seam bowler, who can chip in with wickets in time of need.[4]

In 2000, Lt-General Tauqir Zia, then the PCB chairman, said that the board would choose the next captain – not based on seniority alone – and if people find the choice unacceptable they will not be selected. Later – in front of some senior players – he told Azhar Mahmood that he will be the next Pakistan captain. Together they would plan the future strategy. But till now this never came to pass.[13]


He was recalled to the national side for the ODI series against South Africa in early 2007,[14] but subsequently dropped when the 2007 Cricket World Cup team was announced. He was however recalled to go with the squad to the West Indies after a knee injury to Abdul Razzaq. It was Mahmood's 3rd World Cup.[15]

However, aside from playing in a practice match, Azhar did not get a chance to participate in the World Cup and Pakistan's early exit from the tournament meant that he was once again, in line for being axed from the national squad. Following his exclusion, Azhar returned to playing county cricket in UK. Over the years, due to his constant exclusion from the Pakistani squad and the fact that he has crossed the 30-year-old mark, it seems that Mahmood is not as interested in returning to the Pakistani line up as he once was. His weight gain, mediocre performances in ODIs, combined with the tough competition for the all rounder slot in the Pakistani line up meant that his chances for making a return to the national squad were very limited. He has previously signed with the defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) and had been released from his central contract.[16]

Coaching careerEdit

In November 2016, Mahmood was appointed bowling coach of the Pakistan side.[17] Earlier the same year, he had served 2 short stints in a similar capacity, also for the national team.


Wisden in 2001 included Azhar Mahmood's innings of 132 for Pakistan against South Africa at Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban in 1997–98[18] as the 8th best Test Innings of All Time in its list of Wisden 100. It mentioned – "South Africa's pace attack had more depth than at any other time in their history: Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock supported by Fanie de Villiers and Lance Klusener. No surprise that Pakistan were put in to bat on a treacherous pitch – or that they should be reduced to 89 for 5. Salvation came in the form of a 22-year-old allrounder who seemed to be batting too low at No.7: his century was already his third in six Test innings against South Africa. Tucking into a great pace bowler like Donald, he scored 96 runs in boundaries while proving himself an expert shepherd of a tail: he made 90% of Pakistan's last 106 runs. They went on to win a low-scoring match by 29."[19]


  1. ^ "Profile". Sportskeeda. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b "A bright first impression".
  3. ^ "Azhar Mahmood's wedding". Awami Web. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b Azhar Mahmood, ESPNCricinfo, retrieved 20 April 2012
  5. ^ Surrey sign Matthew Nicholson, ESPNCricinfo, 17 November 2006, retrieved 20 April 2012
  6. ^ a b Azhar Mahmood joins Kent, ESPNCricinfo, 22 November 2007, retrieved 20 April 2012
  7. ^ "Auckland Aces take title in style". ESPNCricinfo. 22 January 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  8. ^ "IPL 2012 auction: Who was sold to whom". ESPNCricinfo. 4 February 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Records | Twenty20 matches | Partnership records | Highest partnerships by wicket | ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  10. ^ "1st Semi Final: Wayamba United v Uva Next at Colombo (RPS), Aug 28, 2012 | Cricket Scorecard | ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  11. ^ Sahara 'Friendship' Cup – 1st ODI, ESPNCricinfo, 16 September 1996, retrieved 20 April 2012
  12. ^ South Africa in Pakistan Test Series – 1st Test, ESPNCricinfo, 6 October 1997, retrieved 20 April 2012
  13. ^ 'I'm always available for Pakistan', ESPNCricinfo, 12 November 2006, retrieved 20 April 2012
  14. ^ Azhar Mahmood recalled by Pakistan, ESPNCricinfo, 5 February 2007, retrieved 20 April 2012
  15. ^ Mahmood added to World Cup reserves, ESPNCricinfo, 15 February 2007, retrieved 20 April 2012
  16. ^ ICL-county situation as clear as mud, ESPNCricinfo, 13 March 2008, retrieved 20 April 2012
  17. ^ "Azhar Mahmood appointed Pakistan bowling coach". ESPNcricinfo. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Pakistan in South Africa Test Series – 2nd Test". ESPNCricinfo. 26 February 1998. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Top 10 Test Innings of all time". Wisden 2001. Retrieved 1 March 2018.

External linksEdit