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Pakistan ready to make history in Australia

Last updated on: November 30, 2023 11:59 IST
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The Pakistan cricket team, led by Shan Masood, departed for their tour to Australia early Thursday morning. The first Test begins on December 14

IMAGE: The Pakistan cricket team, led by Shan Masood, departed for their tour to Australia on Wednesday. The first Test begins on December 14. Photograph: PCB/X

Babar Azam has relinquished the captaincy but he remains the cornerstone of Pakistan's batting, test skipper Shan Masood said ahead of their tour of Australia.

Babar stepped down as Pakistan's all-formats captain earlier this month after they failed to make it to the semi-finals of the 50-overs World Cup in India.

 

Masood will begin his tenure with a three-Test series in Australia and the top order batter said there was no doubt about Babar's stature in the side.

"Babar Azam is the best batter in the side and you build your team around your best batter so his position will not be tinkered with," Masood said in his pre-departure press conference on Wednesday.

Pakistan have been whitewashed in each of their last five tours of Australia, and a similar setback could spell the end of Masood's tenure given the tendency towards knee-jerk reactions by the country's cricket administrators.

But the 34-year-old says he is not worried about how long he will serve in the role and that being a captain or being a player were "temporary things at the end of the day".

"When you haven't done something before in history, you have an opportunity to go out there and try to change it. That's what we're trying to do.

"As long as you are in that place or seat, you should relish the opportunity, try and take responsibility, and give your best for the team," he added.

Pakistan's first Test in Australia is scheduled to begin on December. 14 in Perth, while Melbourne and Sydney host the other matches.  The team will play a tour match against Australian PM XI from December 6-9 in Canberra.

Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood's contract upgraded

Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood's contract was on Thursday upgraded to 'B' category from earlier 'D' by the country's cricket board, hours after the team led by him left for Australia for a Test series.

The 34-year-old Masood was named Test captain on November 15 until the conclusion of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 cycle, after Babar Azam stepped down, following Pakistan's 50-over World Cup debacle in India.

"The PCB has decided to upgrade Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood's category in the central contract list from D to B," the PCB said in a statement.

"The decision has been made in line with board's policy that if a centrally contracted player below A or B categories is appointed captain, their contract shall be upgraded to category B for the tenure of their captaincy."

The left-handed batter has featured in 30 Tests, amassing 1,597 runs.

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Source: REUTERS
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