MELBOURNE: Test captain Shan Masood opened up on wicketkeeper batter Sarfaraz Ahmed’s exclusion from Pakistan’s 12-member squad for the second Test against Australia.
Sarfaraz, who had a forgetful outing in the Perth Test, was replaced by Mohammad Rizwan on Monday as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) unveiled a 12-member squad for the upcoming second Test.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s newly-appointed Test captain Shan Masood, who categorically coined Sarfaraz Ahmed as his first-choice wicketkeeper ahead of the tour, stated that it would be wrong to say that he was “dropped” and instead termed it as a “little bit of break to recuperate and come back”.
“You saw that with the selection of Khurram Shahzad and Aamer Jamal even though a lot of people felt it was quite risky putting two debutants out there. I think they handled themselves well and we have to give them credit because their first outing in Australia was quite decent.
“The reason to play Sarfaraz was pretty much the same. People go back to stats and Rizwan averages very well in SENA. Firstly, there’s no competition between the two. They’re equally important to the team. Any competition they have is healthy competition.
“We know what Rizwan has done but we gave Sarfaraz the benefit because he averaged 56.50 on his last tour here in 2016. Yes, that’s been quite a while but he’s also played red ball consistently in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy in the last few years.
“Rizwan just came from the World Cup, a lot of white ball cricket. And he also had a gap in red-ball cricket since Sarfaraz took over from him for the New Zealand series.
“Sarfaraz had an outstanding performance there and Rizwan hadn’t played a lot of red-ball cricket. So, there was a method to it. He’s been there, he played red-ball cricket.
“Karachi had a very good season where he was the tournament’s MVP, and that allowed us to get a player like Rizwan into shape. If I had it my way, I’d ideally like both to play but that’s not possible.
“Now we think Rizwan is ready and we can give Saifi that little bit of break to recuperate and come back.”
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Shan Masood also commented on his first defeat as Pakistan’s Test captain when his side suffered a 360-run hammering in the first Test.
“One Test is never a fair assessment,” he said. “You need time. You need a bit more time. You’ve already got a squad that’s been playing Test cricket for a while.
“You have to look at the domestic structure and the players available for red-ball cricket. A lot of things you need before you can sort of force that way of playing.
“You need players to buy in. We want to give players ample opportunity to buy into the way we want to play. There are some things that we’ve said from the outside that we want to play a more attractive brand of Test cricket.
“We did that in Sri Lanka. We got some results as well. The challenge now is to do it against the best teams in world cricket.”
Pakistan squad for second Test
Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi (vc), Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Aamir Jamal, Sajid Khan.