Mahmood has quietly built up an impressive coaching career, with international experience with Pakistan burning in the Pakistan Super League most recently as head coach at Islamabad United. As an interim assistant coach at Surrey, he has taken on Overton as a personal project and the early results, after little technical changes, have been excellent.
“The first thing we did with him was to reduce his run-up,” says Mahmood. Was losing when he was running at the popping crease for those final stages where you really have to build that momentum.”
Because of that loss in speed, Mahmud explains, he was not moving well towards his goal. “When you move your hip in action, you transfer the weight and bring your hip forward, for a follow-through. He was stalling a bit but if you look now, he’s getting closer to the batsman.” Goes. He’s tall at the crease. Now.”
Mahmood is careful when it comes to thinking about the bowling action, though he is careful not to tinker with it too much. His phone is a video treasure trove of bowlers and bowling action from his work around the world; Little tips he gave them, small changes he made, hours he spent just looking and logging in.
He identified Overton’s run-up as a major reason for the inconsistency in his release and action, which often resulted in him wandering down the aisle. But the pre-season work brought some immediate results. After shortening the run-up, Mahmood asked Overton to note how many deliveries he bowled at legside. Overton bowled Hashim Amla for half an hour in the nets on day one and Mahmood remembered only two deliveries that Amla could have played through legside. Amla was impressed and wondered if Overton could maintain that consistency.
“Now you can see that half the season has passed and he is handling it,” Mahmood said. “His pace can lead to dissonance. At that pace, a good day can be a great day, but a bad day is a very bad day. If you’re a little off that pace, you go for runs. “Jamie’s getting that continuity now. He’s still a work in progress. He’ll keep going. But this season I think people have seen the best of him.”
“I talked to him about his batting,” he says. “I said you remind me of myself, you have the exact same role I used to play. To help build an innings down the order. I told him that role. Best this guy with that batting.” Can be one of the all-rounders in the world.
“I haven’t really done that much with him. Jamie Overton is special. He’s a diamond. All we’ve done is cut and polish him a little bit.”