We all know Shan Masood the opener as that is what he has been for the most part of his career.
Even the international cricket he has played for Pakistan has been as an opener in Tests and in ODIs.
An average of 29 in Tests and 22 in ODIs suggests that he has been mediocre in international cricket, despite turning it on in domestic cricket for the past few years.
He was never regarded as a T20 batsman. So much so that he did not even make it to the XI at times for his PSL franchise, the Multan Sultans.
In yesterday’s first T20I between Pakistan and England, Shan Masood walked out to bat at 4 and the commentators, particularly Wasim Akram and Urooj Mumtaz, went on about how Shan is an opener and that he would find it difficult to adjust to batting at number 4.
I wondered why both commentators were so clueless when making those statements. I also wondered why no one in the combox corrected them.
The thing is that Shan Masood has not only transformed his game to become an attacking batsman suited to all formats of the game, he has also shifted to playing at number 4 in T20 cricket.
I believe he made this switch considering that Pakistan currently possess solid opening pairs in all three formats. With no opening position up for grabs in the Pakistan team, Shan likely wanted to create his space in the middle order.
And this is how he did it.
In these 9 innings, he scored 215 runs at an average of 31 and a strike rate of 128.
Decent returns that definitely made a case for his presence in Pakistan’s abysmal middle order.
Here’s a breakdown of his 9 innings at number 4 for Balochistan in the National T20 Cup:
So no, Shan Masood was not new to batting at 4, nor did the Pakistan team management make it difficult for him by making him bat at an unfamiliar position.
Shan Masood batted at 4 in the Pakistan’s T20 competition with some success, which resulted in his selection for Pakistan, who were looking to shore up their middle order after the consistent failures in the Asia Cup.
Shan Masood batted for Pakistan in the same position that he batted in Pakistan’s most recent T20 competition.
Would be good if the commentators had a bit more knowledge.
Anyhow, not that it makes any difference to Pakistan’s middle order though – they are all damn rabbits!