Pakistan's Test Captain Shan Masood reveals team strategy for Australia tour
In a comprehensive press conference convened at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood exuded confidence in the team’s composition for the imminent Australia tour, underscoring the unwavering significance of star batsman Babar Azam.
Masood provided assurance that Babar Azam’s batting position would remain unaltered, emphasizing his pivotal role in shaping the team’s strategic approach. Expressing contentment with the team’s selection process, Masood elucidated on a unified approach among team members.
He stated, “Our Test team is settled, and the World Test Championship has already started on that note,” subtly alluding to the consistent opening pair of Abdullah Shafique and Imam Ul Haq, with himself poised to bat at number 3. While acknowledging the importance of Babar Azam as the team’s premier batter, Masood affirmed, “You build your team around your best batter, so his position will not be tinkered with.” Delving into squad selection, Masood underscored the recognition of domestic performers such as Saim, Khurram Shehzad, and Mir Hamza. However, he also emphasized the significance of player availability, referencing Haris Rauf and the imperative to respect player decisions. Despite expressing a reluctance to make unnecessary changes to the settled team, Masood underscored the team’s unequivocal intent to secure victory in Australia, which is reflected in their playing approach.
Addressing the presence of past captains in the team, Masood viewed it as an asset that alleviates the captain’s responsibilities. He stressed a collective leadership approach, citing players like Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Babar Azam contributing valuable insights on the field.
Speaking about his relationship with predecessor Babar Azam, Masood mentioned a “really good relationship” both on and off the field. Sarfraz Ahmed’s presence was deemed “very important,” credited with changing the style of Pakistan’s batting. Masood highlighted the valuable experience of players like Sarfaraz, Rizwan, and Babar, considering it crucial for the challenging tour of Australia.
On the bowling front, Shan Masood admitted the absence of a fully settled unit, particularly with Naseem Shah unavailable. The captain acknowledged the success in Sri Lanka and emphasized the need for clarity in the fast bowling combination once in Australia. The Pakistan squad is scheduled to embark from Lahore on November 30, with three Test matches in Australia slated from December 14, 2023, to January 7, 2024.