Why is Shan Masood being ignored?

KARACHI: Shan Masood has been in the form of his life. And has been for quite some time. The left-handed opener has scored big both at home and in England and has received praise from all quarters.

But his purple patch with the bat, which has earned him two Player of the Month Awards from the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) in three months, is yet to impress Pakistan’s selectors.

On Wednesday, Shan was overlooked from Pakistan’s One-day International and Twenty20 International squads for two upcoming assignments — an ODI series against the Netherlands and the Asia Cup in the UAE.

Shan, who has not played for Pakistan since January 2021 when he failed in the away Test series in New Zealand, has scored heavily in all three formats since that series. He has ticked all boxes and should have been included in both the squads.

He has the highest List A average of 57.6 in Pakistan. He has piled up the highest T20 runs (1025) in the world in 2022 so far. He was among the top-three highest scoring batsmen in the last edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with a grand total of 478. He was among the top-three in the Vitality Blast T20 contest in England with 547 runs.

Before that Shan became the first batsman to score 1000 runs in the ongoing English County season with the help of two double centuries. In the process, he became the first Pakistani opener to score a double century and highest individual innings of 239.

Shan was in his element in 2020 as well. One of the highlights of the year for him was a memorable 156 at Old Trafford against England. That innings later made it to No. 2 in Wisden’s Test innings of the year (2020). The century in Manchester was his third consecutive ton in three consecutive Tests. By achieving that feat he joined an elite club that includes legends Zaheer Abbas, Mudassar Nazar, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, who are the only other Pakistani batsmen to score centuries in three consecutive matches.

So why is that the selectors continue to ignore him? And even when they consider him as they did for the recent two Test series in Sri Lanka, why is that Shan stays on the bench and is not included in the playing eleven?

Obviously, there are no cricketing reasons for the snub. After all he has been a shining star with big piles of runs under his belt. So is it because his maturity and batting prowess together with a proven leadership record make some very important people in the national team’s dressing room insecure?

This seems to be the case because there is no justification for Shan’s continuous omission from Pakistan’s line-ups for both red and white-ball formats.

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