Yorkshire CCC captain Shan Masood: I'm playing better now than when I was scoring lots of runs
Last year, Masood scored 1872 runs for Derbyshire in all cricket at an average of 60.38.
This year, the Yorkshire captain has made 654 runs in all cricket at an average of 31.14.
“The frustration has been that I feel I’m honestly batting better than how I batted last year, and last year I got tons of runs,” said Masood.
“It’s one of those things. It’s a funny game. When things go for you, they go for you. There have been a few things (dismissals) that I consider freak, or weird, but there have been a lot of innings where I’ve managed to get starts. Those are the times when you’d like to convert them into milestones and go bigger.
“Last year, I was able to go bigger and bat for longer periods of time in all formats. This year, at Yorkshire and in the other cricket I’ve played for Pakistan, I’ve looked good, I’ve looked better, but I’ve just found a way to get out.
“It will turn around, I know, but the timing hasn’t been the greatest. You obviously want your first season at a club like Yorkshire to be as productive as possible, but hopefully I can score more runs in the last few games.”
Masood, 33, has not scored a hundred for over 15 months.
His last was against Worcestershire at Derby in May last year, which followed successive double centuries the previous month, including a career-best 239 against Sussex at Derby.
Masood’s highest score for Yorkshire is 96 in their last match against Middlesex at Radlett in the One-Day Cup.
His other half-centuries in his 23 innings for the club are 95 not out and 67 against Derbyshire in the County Championship at Chesterfield in June, and 54 against Essex in the One-Day Cup at Chelmsford the Sunday before last.
“I’m not getting that hundred; that’s been the story of my 2023,” he added. “I feel I’m leaving things half-cooked, something undone.
“There have been a lot of instances in all the cricket I’ve played in 2023 where there have been 40s, 75s, 80s, 90s, and so on.
“I felt like I didn’t really finish well (against Middlesex) and lost a bit of momentum towards the end. That’s something to work on - finishing an innings off, but it was good to spend some time at the crease.”
Masood has four games left to end his century drought.
It is not something weighing particularly on his mind but he would not be human if, having been signed amid much fanfare and expectation last August on a two-year deal, it was not an extra motivation for him in the season’s closing weeks.
Yorkshire return to action against Derbyshire at Scarborough from September 3 before ending their Championship campaign with games at Glamorgan and Leicestershire followed by a home fixture with Worcestershire.
Yorkshire’s leading century-makers this year are openers Adam Lyth and Fin Bean, who both have three.
“It’s one of those things where it (getting a hundred) becomes a habit,” said Masood, who has scored 36 hundreds across all formats to go with 13 innings in the 90s and two in the 190s.
“The first hundred, or the first one after a while, is the hardest and then you can sort of kick on and score more hundreds. Always that first one, when you get that, you take momentum into the next game that you have a hundred behind you.
“But I’m not really one for personal milestones.
“I’ve done some silly things in the 40s. I’ve done some silly things in the 90s. I’ve got a number of first-class 90s and also a 199 (for Islamabad against Karachi Whites in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in 2013).
“It would have been nice to have one (a hundred for Yorkshire). Hopefully, I’ll get a big score in the next match at Scarborough.”
Masood, whose 96 at Radlett was one of the few highlights in a poor team performance, felt that Yorkshire had a mediocre one-day campaign.
They were hampered at the outset when they narrowly lost a rain-affected game against the champions Kent at Scarborough that could easily have gone the other way, followed by two washouts against Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.
Hopes were lifted by a fine five-wicket triumph against Essex at Chelmsford and a plucky one-wicket victory against Surrey at York.
Yorkshire should probably have qualified from there, or at least run it very close, but they lost their last three games against Hampshire at York by 177 runs, against Leicestershire at Grace Road by six wickets and then by five wickets at Radlett.
“I felt that with bat and ball in the tournament we were not consistent,” said Masood. “We were good in patches, and the lesson is that there have been other teams, younger teams as well, significantly inexperienced teams, that came in and delivered.”