LAHORE-Pakistan’s recently appointed Test captain, Shan Masood, assured that there would be no alteration in star batter Babar Azam’s playing position, reaffirming their strong partnership.
In a press conference before the team’s departure for Australia, Shan, a seasoned captain in PSL and county cricket, expressed confidence in maintaining Babar’s position at number four, emphasizing their effective understanding on the field.
“We won’t want to change his position, which is number four spot. I have had a very good relationship with Babar Azam. We played cricket for Islamabad and won matches for them. We understand each other very well,” said Shan.
Reflecting on the team’s composition, he highlighted the stability in the opening combination of Imam ul Haq and Abdullah Shafique, emphasizing their significant contributions over the past year. Shan, who often played at the number three spot after Azhar Ali’s retirement, outlined the top three as a strategic focus for the team.
Addressing the presence of two wicketkeepers, Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan acknowledged Sarfaraz’ commendable performance in the recent Test series against New Zealand. “Sarfaraz Ahmed did really well in the home Test series against New Zealand and he is our settled keeper, while Mohammad Rizwan was excellent in the Tests in Australia in 2019. Rizwan can play as a batter too and we will see what combination to go with in Australia.
“Sarfaraz and I have played cricket for the same club in Karachi. He is one of the most successful captains in Pakistan, and he changed the way we played Test cricket and its mindset. Sarfaraz, Babar and Rizwan are those we can take inspiration from and we can use their experience,” he added.
Speaking on the absence of Haris Rauf, Shan expressed the team’s desire for additional pace in Australia, referencing England’s Mark Wood. “We wished for Haris Rauf to be with us in Australia for the Test series, Mark Wood did well there and we needed extra pace which he possesses but since he is not available now, we cannot do much and have to move on,” he added.
Regarding his central contract category and the rotation policy, Shan emphasized the honor of being centrally contracted, saying, “Categories do not matter to me.” He assured a focus on every Test match, considering their importance in the context of the World Test Championship.
“As far as the rotation policy is concerned, each Test match is important, with context to World Test Championship. All our players are professionals and are fit. We will manage injuries and neither be putting any player at risk, but we will play our best XI in every game to get results in our favour, as wins and draws both are valuable during the World Test Championship,” Shan concluded.