Indian fans line up to take pictures with Shan Masood


Indian fans take a picture with Pakistani Test opener Shan Masood. — Reporters
Indian fans take a picture with Pakistani Test opener Shan Masood. — Reporters 

DERBY: Hundreds of Indian cricket fans lined up to take pictures and take autographs from Pakistani Test cricketer Shan Masood after a T20 tour match between Derbyshire Falcons and the visiting Indian team was played at the Incora County Ground in Derby.

Although Derbyshire Falcons, which was being led by Shan Masood, lost to India, at the end of the match, amazing scenes were witnessed as Indian fans were surprised to see Shan engaging with them. 

The left-handed opener stayed on the ground for almost 45 minutes after the game ended and walked from one end of the stands to the other end so that fans could take pictures with him.

Speaking to Geo News after the match, Shan termed the experience “amazing”.

“The biggest characteristic of sports and the game of cricket is the way it connects people from different countries, cultures, and religions and unites them. So, as players, it’s our duty to spare time for the fans who spend their time and money to travel from various parts of the world to come and watch us play,” said Shan.

Although Shan’s performance wasn’t up to the mark, he believes hosting the match was a huge day for Derbyshire as a club.

“I think we are lucky that we got a chance to play against India, who has got such strength and depth in their squad that they are playing Test match at Edgbaston, Birmingham against England and at the same time T20 here at Derby,” said the southpaw.

Shan has been phenomenal with the bat in his first county season. So far, he has scored 1,074 runs in first-class matches at an average of 82.6. 

He is also the first player of the season to score more than 1,000 runs. In the shorter format captaining Derbyshire Falcons in the T20 Blast, he has scored 547 runs at an average of 45.58. But Shan lamented that he couldn’t get runs in the match game against India.

“This is a life story of cricketer specially when you’re a batter even if you score a century or even a double century you’re always looking forward to your next target. So, it’s always good to score runs as it keeps bring smile on your face,” said Shan.

Shan’s amazing form for his county club has earned him a call in the 18-member national squad for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka scheduled to start later this month. He last played a Test match for Pakistan back in January 2021, whether he will be seen in action this time or not, he remains very realistic about that.

“It’s always exciting to represent your country. But for me it’s one step at a time. I am optimistic but I have to be realistic too. If I get a chance to be part of the final eleven I will try my best to carry forward the good performances, I have shown so far. And in case I don’t , I will still keep on knocking the door and perform well whenever the next chance is offered,” said the left-handed batsman.

But in the meantime, Derbyshire will have to do without one of their top performers in the knockout round of the T20 Blast. The Falcons had a wonderful run so far in their group winning nine out of their 14 matches in the group stage. Shan Masood’s departure at this point in the tournament will hurt the team and Derbyshire is disappointed to see him leave.

“I’m glad that my team has qualified for the knockout stages of the T20 Blast tournament. it’s a big achievement for Derbyshire Falcons. We have the momentum but the team and management are a little disappointed and so am I that I won’t be involved with the team in the quarter-final and probably on the finals day

“But for me Pakistan is first and when national duty calls you have to leave everything else behind. There are many examples in the sports world that sportspersons have to delay their weddings or miss the birth of their children only to represent their countries as nothing is bigger than that,” said Shan.


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