Shan Masood, Imam back cricket behind closed doors

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Karachi

Opener Shan Masood has backed the idea of playing cricket behind closed doors, saying that something is better than nothing and he will be happy to play cricket without spectators in the stadium.
“We need to stay connected with our sport and fitness routine. The first step toward the revival of cricket internationally will probably be having cricket behind closed doors,” Masood said an online session arranged by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with journalists.
“I will be happy to play and I am sure my teammates will be equally ready and happy to play behind closed doors,” he said.
The 30-year-old further said that even though the players will miss the crowd at the stadium, there would at least be something and fans will also get some action on TV.
Meanwhile, Masood highlighted the importance of the environment in which a player grows, stating that if a player is surrounded by positivity, he would develop as a positive player.
“Players must be given a sense of security while he is in the squad, he should be given that confidence so that he performs better and better,” said Masood.
Masood, who couldn’t impress much at the start of his career, has now become a regular selection in Pakistan’s red-ball team and his transformation has turned his critics into his advocates.
Masood, who had a tough start to his Test career, has since become a regular in Pakistan’s red-ball team and his transformation has turned his critics into his advocates.
He believes that playing domestic cricket with consistency has helped him improve the standard of his game.
He was subjected to claims of nepotism and was labelled “parchi” as his father was member of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Board of Governors. While he admitted to being bothered by the tag, he said he no longer feels that way.
“I am now least bothered about such tags anymore. I am focused on my performance and I know that my only report-card is my performance,” Masood said.
The 30-year-old stressed the importance of keeping fit all year round instead of just for the fitness test.
“The best teams in the world are also the fittest teams”, he said. “My general fitness has played an important role in my growth as a cricketer. I try to keep myself fit according to set standards throughout the year and I can be tested any time for my fitness.”
He also backed the role of departmental cricket in domestic cricket and hoped for a competition between departmental teams in the upcoming season.
“Departmental cricket has helped me a lot. It does play a role in development of cricketers. I have learnt under stalwarts in HBL and later among new players in UBL. The guidance of Younis Khan was a great contributing factor to my growth,” he said.
“The PCB, I am hearing, is looking for a window to introduce a separate competition among departmental outfits and I would welcome it.”
Talking about Pakistan Super League, Masood, who also led Multan Sultans, said that he would prefer playing the remaining matches over being declared winners as he believes the play-offs are the best part of the tournament.
He said that it was learning experience to lead veteran players like Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir along with a group of youngsters in the side.
“Shahid Afridi was very supportive in the dugout and I believe that once you’re on field, each of the 11 players are captains of their own, they’ll have to contribute towards team’s requirement and share their input and such contributions are always important,” he said.
Opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq has revealed that he is not in favour of playing cricket behind closed doors but insisted that if sports activities resumed he would support the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“The charm is lost without the crowd and it feels odd playing without them but if that is what the PCB wants then we have to support that,” he said in an online video conference.
However, Imam maintained that the ICC T20 World Cup should be played with crowds. “It’s the ICC’s decision as well as the boards’ but I do think that crowds should be allowed,” he said.
Imam further said that the online fitness tests conducted by the PCB went well and assured that players have been taking care of themselves during the lockdown.
He said that he has an indoor gym which has been keeping him fit during this period of sporting inactivity.
“The fitness tests went exactly like our previous tests. Luckily, I had a gym set up at my home just before the lockdown so I’ve been keeping myself fit and taking help from the trainer,” Imam said.—APP