December 5, 2023

Shan Masood deserves a minimum of two-year stint as captain


By Ahad Masood ‘Bobby’ in USA

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The newly appointed captain of the national Test team, Shan Masood, should not be dumped even if Pakistan gets whitewashed in the upcoming three-match series in Australia. The world champions are overwhelming favourites to make a clean sweep in view of their own strength as well as the dismal Test record which Pakistan has had in Australia. 

Blooding Shan directly as a captain for such a demanding tour seems to be a hasty decision. Hopefully he would not be assessed on the basis of just one series and the decision-makers will be acting in national interest if let him lead the team until the end of the current cycle of World Test Championship which will continue for another two years. He could be given a longer stint, depending on performance.

Despite the criticism over Babar Azam’s captaincy, following the debacle in the Asia Cup followed by the World Cup, he could have been asked to skipper the team for Test series in Australia and also the T20I series in New Zealand. 

Alternatively, when they have brought Sarfaraz Ahmed back in their frame, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should have reappointed him as the captain in all three formats for at least next one year. Ideally, Shan should have been posted as vice-captain to either Babar or Sarfaraz before taking up the national captaincy. 

But, as we have often witnessed in the past, authorities pressed the panic button after the recently concluded World Cup just as they have done four years ago when Sarfaraz was removed unceremoniously. 

It’s a pity that captains are deposed in such haste. Pakistan, in the recent past in particular, has lacked in initiating the process of grooming captains by picking up the potential candidates as captains. 

Misbah-ul-Haq, the most successful Test captain, had innumerable vice-captains during his tenure while there was none when Sarfaraz was leading the side. There was no clarity of thought even in the era of Babar when sometimes Mohammad Rizwan was given the job before passing on the baton to Shadab Khan. 

Shan also had a brief stint as vice-captain during the home series against New Zealand but Babar, for reasons best known to himself, was not prepared to pick his deputy in the playing eleven which was indeed well and truly disrespectful. 

Shan is an educated youngster who has the experience of leading Multan Sultan in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) besides captaining the county of Yorkshire in England. A prolific left-handed opening batsman, who can shift gears whenever needed. He seems to be having the capacity to lead by example. 

The PCB would have been better off handing over captaincy across formats to him instead of just Test matches. He may still be asked to lead the ODI side as they haven’t made the announcement in this regard yet. 

The enigmatic Pakistan squad, short of confidence, will be tested on both the tours of Australia as well as New Zealand where the conditions would be entirely different to what these guys encountered at home. They didn’t perform consistently against these two sides even in own backyard last season. Hopefully they would do better this time to pose serious challenge to the hosts Down Under.

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Marathon runner Yousuf on course of breaking Guiness record


By Syed Khalid Mahmood 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Marathon runner, Muhammad Yousuf Malik, is on course of breaking a record to enter the famed Guiness Book of World Records. He informed PNFS in Karachi on December 5 that he has been running 21.1 kilometres daily for the last five days. He is set to become the highest-ever half marathon distance runner (male). 

“I have a plan to continue running 21.1 kilometres daily until December 31 to create a new world record for the most consecutive day run for Pakistan. Presently the record is for 22 days but I have set my goal of raising the bar substantially by running for 31 days so that it could not be easily broken in near future,” Yousuf Malik revealed. 

A resident of Karachi, he has chosen the route between Zamzama Park and Sea View in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), which is relatively peaceful and free from pollution, which otherwise is a big factor elsewhere in the metropolis. The finishing venue is McDonalds in Clifton. Yousuf Malik is an enthusiastic marathon runner and he has got himself registered with Guiness already whose officials are monitoring his progress digitally.

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