On the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, the editor-in-chief of the Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine Phil Walker suggests that Shan Masood possesses the necessary ingredients to be considered a viable candidate for the Pakistan Test captaincy.
It’s been more than six years since Shan Masood debuted in Test cricket and since then, he has struggled to cement his place in the Pakistan team. His numbers – 1,089 runs at an average of 29.43 from 19 Tests – aren’t particularly striking but in Pakistan’s two most recent Test series, he seems to have turned a corner.
Against Australia, he averaged exactly 39 at the top of the order against a world-class attack in testing conditions while at home to Sri Lanka, he registered his second century in Test cricket. With current skipper Azhar Ali struggling for runs himself – he averages just 21.72 in 2019 – Masood is a possible future Pakistan Test captain, in the eyes of Phil Walker.
“I met him only once,” said Walker on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast. “We had lunch just outside Lord’s in 2016 when Pakistan were over here and he was part of that Test squad. He played at Lord’s in the first Test match, did okay without doing great and was dropped for the latter part of that series. He was struggling a bit with his game and you could sense that.
“I happened to meet him for lunch because we had a mutual friend and we were looking to get the insider’s take on that incredible summer. With Misbah, the press-ups, the win at Lord’s, the Younis Khan double-century at The Oval to level the series and leading themselves to number one in the world by the end of that summer.
“Shan Masood is the most articulate man I think I’ve ever come across in cricket and I count Zafar Ansari and Ed Smith in that category as well. Shan Masood is a real poet with words. He’s from a very striking, high-achieving family in Pakistan and he’d been doing good work up until then but technically he was really struggling. He took himself away from the pressure cooker, rebuilt his game and became a lot more chest on.
“He was fascinating company, clearly of the right kind of temperament for Test cricket but his game was gone. He’s gone away, he’s sorted himself out and he’s come back and now he’s making Test hundreds.
“He’s undoubtedly a Test captain in waiting… Shan Masood has the right kind of minerals to be a Pakistani Test cricketer.
“Whether Shan Masood becomes the long-term Test captain or not, he’s the kind of character you want around that team. They don’t need mavericks, they need steady Eddies.”
You can listen to the full Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast episode that discusses Pakistan’s series win over Sri Lanka, previews England’s series in South Africa and much more on the Podcast App or Spotify.