Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Shan Masood's Second Inning

Shan Masood scored an impressive 75 on test debut against South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

That was 7 years ago and since then he has played only 21 tests scoring 1,345 runs at an average of 33.6.

Those are not great stats, however it is largely due to the fact that he has never had a prolonged run in Pakistan's test playing XI.

Till now.

It is already difficult for batsmen who are not considered for white ball cricket to maintain consistent performances at test level. It is made even harder by the selectors who keep changing their minds.

Shan has had a very start-stop test career, till Pakistan's tour to South Africa at the end of 2018. Since then he has been Pakistan's preferred test opener and he has shown all of us why.

Before the start of that series against South Africa, Shan had played 12 tests during the period 2013-17, scored 565 runs at an average of 23.5, and had knocked 1 test century and 3 fifties.

Since that series, Shan has played 9 tests, scored 780 runs at an average of 48.75, and has knocked 3 test centuries and 3 fifties.

Shan's 156 at Old Trafford was a monumental knock.

It was really unfortunate that he ended up on the losing side, but his effort on days 1 and 2 of the test set up the game for Pakistan.

The sheer determination with which he played on a difficult pitch and countered two new ball bursts from Anderson, Broad, Archer, and Woakes was heartening to watch and completely praiseworthy.

Shan's 156 was a memorable knock for many reasons. Here are a few.

ONE
It was his third consecutive test century, following his 135 vs SL and 100 vs BAN, placing him in elite company that includes the likes of Zaheer Abbas, Mohammad Yousuf, and Younis Khan from Pakistan and batting greats like Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, and Jacques Kallis.

TWO
It was the first test century by a Pakistani opener away from home (Pakistan/UAE) in over 3 years. The last one was scored by Azhar Ali in the Caribbean in May 2017.

THREE
He became only the 5th opener from Pakistan, and the first this century, to score a test hundred in England, following the feats of Mohsin Khan, Mudassar Nazar, Aamer Sohail, and Saeed Anwar.

FOUR
It is the highest test score in England by a visiting opener in 5 years. The last time an opener scored more than Shan was in July 2015 when Chris Rogers hit 173.

FIVE
It is the highest test score by any batsman from Pakistan away from home (Pakistan/UAE) in almost 4 years. The last time a batsman scored more was in January 2017, in Sydney, where Younis Khan played an unbeaten knock of 175.

SIX
The 319 deliveries that Shan faced during his knock were the 3rd highest by a Pakistan test opener in England, after Mohsin Khan (386) and Mudassar Nazar (362). Plus they were the most deliveries faced by a Pakistan opener in England since 1992!

SEVEN
The 319 deliveries faced by Shan were the most by a visiting test opener in England since 2014 when Murali Vijay faced 361 in Nottingham.


This truly is Shan's second inning in test cricket. He has had a great run as test opener for two years now and with the way he batted at Old Trafford, following a good last season at home, Shan looks set to score plenty more test runs for Pakistan.


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