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Pakistan’s New Test Captain Shan Masood Shares his Vision and Challenges

Pakistan’s Test cricket has entered a new phase with the appointment of Shan Masood as the captain, replacing Babar Azam who resigned from all formats following the team’s dismal performance in the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. Masood has expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and shared his vision and roadmap for the national squad in red-ball cricket.

In a video message posted by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Masood thanked the board and all stakeholders for trusting him with the leadership role, acknowledging the honour and privilege of representing Pakistan on the international stage. "First of all thank you very much. It’s an honour and privilege to even play for Pakistan,” Shan said.

He also recognized the challenges that come with leading a Test team, especially in the current scenario where Pakistan is ranked sixth in the ICC Test rankings. He said that red-ball cricket is the toughest format and it is the responsibility of all the players to take Pakistan forward in this domain.

Masood, who has played 30 Tests and scored 1597 runs at an average of 28.51 with four centuries and seven fifties, said that his main goal is to create a distinctive identity and brand for Pakistan in Test cricket, one that reflects a certain style of play that excites the fans and sets Pakistan apart from other teams. He said that he wants to formulate a blueprint that suits the strengths and abilities of the players and helps them achieve consistent results.

“There will be challenges, red-ball cricket is the toughest format and I think it’s an onus on all of us to take Pakistan forward in red-ball cricket, create our own identity, formulate a blueprint, play a certain brand of cricket that excite our fans and when other teams play us, Pakistan will be recognized with that identity and brand of cricket,” he remarked.

Masood also urged the players to work together towards this common goal, having a sense of unity and determination within the squad. He also praised the former captain Babar Azam for his contribution and leadership, and wished him well for his future endeavors.

“Once again, I am extremely grateful and let’s aim together to take Pakistan forward in red-ball cricket," he concluded. Masood’s first assignment as the Test captain will be the away series against Australia in December 2023.

Masood’s appointment as the Test captain has received mixed reactions from the cricket fraternity and fans. Some have welcomed the decision and praised Masood’s skills and temperament as an opener and a leader, while others have questioned his credentials and consistency as a batsman and a captain. Some former players and experts have also suggested that Masood should focus on improving his own performance and form before taking on the additional burden of captaincy.

However, Masood has said that he is ready for the challenge and confident of his abilities. He has also said that he is open to feedback and suggestions from all quarters, and willing to learn from his mistakes and improve as a captain and a player. He has also expressed his hope and optimism that Pakistan’s Test cricket will rise again under his captaincy and make the nation proud.

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