Yorkshire’s Shan Masood named new Test captain of Pakistan

Yorkshire’s plans for next season have been hit with a curveball after Shan Masood was announced as the new Test captain of Pakistan.

Masood has replaced Babar Azam, who has stood down from overseeing the national side in all three formats.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement Babar was given the chance to continue leading the Test side but a failure to reach the World Cup semi-finals meant he was relieved of his white-ball duties.

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However, the 29-year-old, who won 10 of his 20 Tests and led Pakistan to the T20 World Cup final 12 months ago where they were beaten by England, feels the time is right for a leadership shake-up.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - Yorkshire captain Shan Masood.Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - Yorkshire captain Shan Masood.
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - Yorkshire captain Shan Masood.

While he is now looking forward to returning to the playing ranks, the PCB has elected for a captaincy split although a decision over who will lead in ODIs is set to be announced at a later date. Shaheen Shah Afridi is the new T20 skipper.

Yorkshire captain Masood, 34, pictured, has played only 30 Tests since making his debut a decade ago but will now lead the side, starting with a three-match series in Australia next month.

Then Pakistan do not have any scheduled Test cricket until a two-match series against Bangladesh in August, before facing England in a three-match series in October.

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It remains to be seen what impact this will have on his duties with Yorkshire – where he is in the middle of a two-year contract.

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson said: “The first thing to say is, ‘Congratulations to him’.

“We don’t know what it means for us yet. We’ll have to sit down and have a look at it in terms of what Test Cricket Pakistan have next year and what his availability is going to be like.

“But it’s happened very quickly, so it’s something we will have to sit down and have a conversation with him about and have a good lookat.”

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He added: “During the summer just gone when he wasn’t selected for Pakistan’s World Cup squad, Shan was very disappointed.

“But he’s performed well on the back of that, for us and at home over the last few weeks.

“Quite often when there’s a World Cup cycle, lots of things change for various countries.

“If he’s not going to be available, we’ll have to try and get somebody else in.

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“After two years of instability, what I want more than anything – with the goals we’ve set ourselves for next summer – is to have some stability. Let’s see.”

Babar, who took the Test captaincy in 2021, said: “Today I am stepping down as the captain of Pakistan in all formats.

“It’s a difficult decision, but I feel it is the right time for this call. I will continue to represent Pakistan as a player in all three formats.

“I am here to support the new captain and the team with my experience and dedication.

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“Over the past four years, I’ve experienced many highs and lows on and off the field, but I wholeheartedly and passionately aimed to maintain Pakistan’s pride and respect in the cricket world.”

Afridi will oversee Pakistan’s T20 trip to New Zealand in January.

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