Masood is a good bloke who can bring unity to New Yorkshire

Masood: “There’s no point dwelling on the past, you need to move on, to keep moving forward, that’s what the game is about.

I often feel as cricketers that we get stuck in the past, nothing is permanent, We’ve seen powerful teams fall, and we’ve seen people on the ground rise,’ says Shaun Massoud, wiping sweat from his brow as he leans forward by the pool.

Sitting in the hotel that houses both the Pakistan and England squads, the stylish left-hander is not talking about the soon-to-be-concluded Twenty20 international series, but a difficult domestic situation thousands of miles away. Yorkshire is in a mess, and this is the man with the manifesto to get them out of it. Meet the new club captain.

Within hours of his appointment for 2023 is confirmed, Yorkshire was relegated to Division Two of the County Championship. In fact, this ‘powerful team’ will take back some of the buildings.

In Masood, however, they have found the ideal candidate to promote unity after two years of bitter division at Headingley. He is only the second foreign club captain in 159 years, after Darren Lehmann, and the first of colour. Azim Rafiq, whose racist whistle two years ago led to a re-evaluation of Yorkshire’s image and actions, became the first player of Asian origin to wear the armband in 2012 when he deputized for the injured Andrew Gayle. were

As Masood, 33, pointed out next week, Yorkshire has a rich heritage of Pakistani players including Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Sarfraz Ahmed, and their arrival should appeal to both communities that have been overlooked by previous regimes. was – ‘I want to be a role model because these things mean more to me – and also for a playing group that had its established backroom staff support system 10 months ago with massive coaching layoffs. was taken from them by Talk to people on the county circuit about it and you’ll get a typical ‘good guy’ response.

‘I hope to be accepted as Shan Masood and not as someone else. I don’t want to get into what happened. What’s done is done, but I want to go out there and make a difference through myself as a player and through me as a person, and hopefully, for the kind of cricket Yorkshire play. known,” he says.

‘I want to be the player that people want to see every day and I want us to be the team that people want to come and see. Any difference we want to make it through our cricket.

‘For me, it’s an honor, a privilege. These opportunities do not come twice. It’s going to be challenging, we need to get the club back to where it was. I’m looking at the list of County Championship winners now and Yorkshire was historically at the top, so we want to be a team that has the streak to do that again.”

Masood is a good bloke who can bring unity to New Yorkshire

He will be accompanied on the trip by a cast of international stars: Joe Root, whose presence on the golf course rather than in the failed final-round battle against Gloucestershire has raised questions about priorities in the English game, Jonny Bairstow, David Milan, Harry Brook is also keen to return, joined by his Pakistani team-mate Haris Rauf, one of the club’s white-ball specialists, Adil Rashid.

But it will begin in Division Two, where, alongside the strength of Leicestershire, and Derbyshire, the club’s runs – they were ahead of 1,000 during the 2022 first-class season – have been encouraged again.

Masoud moved to Derbyshire last winter because of Mickey Arthur, who he says will ‘always be my coach, but he doesn’t necessarily turn to him for advice. That honor belongs to England’s 2010-11 Ashes-winning mastermind Andy Flower, whose bond has strangely strengthened since Masood’s sacking as captain.

Pakistan Super League franchise Multan Sultans two years ago…

And so Flower was consulted on the merits of moving to Yorkshire. As was David Willey, who criticized the new Yorkshire government when announcing his own departure this summer – ‘one of the nicest people I know in cricket’, according to Masood.

Of Flower, he adds: ‘When you have honest conversations, maybe they don’t mean anything at the time, maybe you feel you’ve been let down or treated unfairly. Gone, but fast forward and things start working. So I am very grateful for his influence.”

With a penchant for plain speaking, Masood is clearly heading in the right direction.

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