Pakistan’s fast-rising Test opener Shan Masood is ready for a one-day international debut against Australia in the first of five one-day internationals in Sharjah on Friday, admitting its a reward for his persistent good performances in domestic matches.
The affable left-hander scored 632 runs in the regional one-day cup before amassing 654 runs in the departmental one day cup in 2017-18 season. He then piled up 352 runs against New Zealand “A” including a century in each innings feat in Dubai in October last year. He also scored 238 runs in five one-day matches against England Lions, also in UAE last year.
That brought him a place in the Pakistan Test squad for the tour of South Africa. An unfortunate injury to Haris Sohail opened the gate for Shan in the first Test in Centurion and, as they say, the rest is history.
The 29-year-old is now hoping for a ODI cap with regular opener Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam rested for the Australia series. Shan is ready for the 50-over format.
“I was hoping that I would get a chance in the Asia Cup,” Shan told pcb.com.pk. “But anything can happen at any time but again everything happens for a reason. The reason why it did not happen in the Asia Cup or in the South Africa series because, probably, I would be getting a chance against Australia so I am very excited.”
Shan admitted his inclusion means performances in Pakistan’s domestic season are rewarded and do not go unnoticed.
“I think that’s important because what it shows is that performances in the domestic season get importance,” said Shan. “It shows that those guys who are dropped from the national side they have an opportunity to perform in domestic cricket.
“I was dropped from the Test team. I was never in the ODI team I went back and scored runs in one day cricket and I got rewarded for that and I am very excited.”
Head coach Mickey Arthur believes new players will get an opportunity in the Australia series to fill up a few vacant spots for the World Cup 2019, starting in UK from May 30.
Shan hoped he can grab one.
“I think there is high competition for the World Cup,” said Shan when asked of his chances to play the World Cup. “I am fortunate that I am picked for the Australia series and hopefully I will be getting a chance. Everything is up to me how well I do in this particular series.
“There is a very good competition for places, there are a few open spots and that’s why some players have been rested. So its a great opportunity so I will hopefully take this opportunity and things in my hands.”
Shan, a very good student of the game, said all players need to grab the opportunity to cement their places.
“Look I have been part of the system for about five or five and half years. Yes, I did not play three consecutive Tests in those five years. I got three in a row in South Africa finally but rather than hoping for more opportunity I also understood how the system works.
“It is a result driven industry and competition is tough. It also teaches you that you might only get one opportunity and you have to make use of that opportunity. So I am very glad that when I played those Tests in place of Haris, which I wasn’t playing initially, I was able to get runs and set myself up. So its again up to me when I am starting one day cricket so if I get runs over here I will make things easier for myself and I will get more opportunities.”
Shan hopes coming good in the harder five-day format will give him confidence.
“Look again you have to back yourself to what you have done before. I won’t be comparing ODIs to my Test standards. The Tests are different, what gives me confidence is that Test cricket is harder than white ball cricket and I have been able to score some runs in my last series.
“What I will be taking with me would be the last three years of domestic one day cricket and the cricket that I played with the Pakistan “A” especially because that was played in UAE against New Zealand “A” and England Lions so hopefully I can take that with me and get a reward for my domestic performances.”
Shan said Australia will not be taken lightly in the series.
“This isn’t a typical Australian side from before. It is with a new management and a new set up with a new culture. They have taken their time as we saw when they came for the Test series here they weren’t as good as they are now. They went back and made some changes, they have made changes in the system and have come back strongly. “
Shan admitted Australia are flying high after their recent 3-2 series against India in India.
“To beat India in India is probably one of the most phenomenal achievements in a bilateral series. We are not going to take them lightly at all. A lot of things are also at stake for us, places for World Cup up for grabs, and playing against this Australia side there will be no better opportunity to perform as a team and individually, so its a great opportunity.”