SOUTH African all-rounder Sohail Mahmoud is on his way to Queen’s Park next season for Paignton’s return to the Premier Division.
Kevin Renecke (760 runs), Richard Ashworth (581) and Dan Wolf (510) were consistent run getters that helped Paignton regain their Premier status at the first attempt.
As South African Renecke won’t be back in 2019, Paignton hope Mahmoud will fill the gap in their early order.
Paignton will ask Mahmoud to bat first wicket down and hope to get some wickets out of his leg-spin too.
Mahmoud, who is 22, is currently turning out in List A cricket for KwaZulu-Natal Inland. He recently hit his maiden List A century – an outstanding 120-ball 122 not out against a very strong Eastern Province seam attack featuring the likes of Glenton Stuurman, Tian Koekemoer and Kelly Smuts.
Mike Smith, the former Warriors batsman who coached Mahmoud as a schoolboy at the prestigious Maritzburg College, rates him highly as a white-ball cricketer.
Shane Burger, who coaches KZNI, has given Mahmoud a reference as ‘ handy overseas’ player.
Mahmoud has been playing First Class, 50-over and T20 cricket since 2015, representing, South African School Colts, KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Dolphins Cubs, Dolphins Academy, KwaZulu-Natal Inland U19s, U17s.
His First Class record is modest – 163 runs in 17 trips to the middle – but Mahmoud averages 23.72 with the bat and 25.57 with the ball in 50-over cricket. Last season he was voted KZNI’s most-improved player.
George Benton, the Paignton captain, has already added former Brixham duo Mark Orchard and Tom Blundell to the roster for next season. Other arrivals are expected.
“We are still in discussion with one more quality player and hope to have something to say soon,” said Benton.
Connor Bryan, a former Paignton captain who left for Stoke Gabriel at the start of last season and was back at QP by the end of it, has hinted he will be regularly available in 2019.
“That is a fantastic boost for us as Connor has enjoyed great seasons for us in the Premier Division in the past,” said Benton.