T20 World Cup final: Pakistan’s Shan Masood ready to take on his ‘second home’ England

Masood has scored 137 runs in six innings at the World Cup with a high score of 52 not out
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Date: 13 November Time: 08:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary and in-play video clips on the BBC Sport website and app.

The Men’s T20 World Cup final between England and Pakistan will be special for all involved.

For Shan Masood, the Pakistan batter who had not played a Twenty20 international two months ago, it is extra special.

Masood, 33, has lived in England. It is where he went to school and university. He will also captain Yorkshire in county cricket next year.

On Sunday, he will attempt to defeat the country he calls his “second home”.

“I don’t think I could have asked for a better occasion,” Masood told BBC Sport.

“My first World Cup, playing in a final, and playing against England where I was nurtured as a cricketer and lived.

“It is like a dream come true.”

Having been born in Kuwait and initially brought up in Pakistan, Masood moved to London with his parents, where they lived a short distance from Lord’s.

He would often go running behind the historic ground’s famous old stands.

“As a kid that aspired to be a cricketer you want to pay attention to fitness and I would run around the neighbourhood,” he said.

“Lots of times I would end up crossing to Lord’s.

“I would go around the place, soaking it in, hoping I would one day be able to play a Test match there.”

Masood is calm – coming across as a deep thinker whose manner would most readily be compared to the longest format, rather than the frenzy of the T20 game.

Pakistan’s journey through to the final has been anything but calm. They lost their opening two games before winning the next four in succession.

It has led to obvious comparisons with Pakistan’s triumph in the 1992 50-over World Cup, where a side captain Imran Khan described as “cornered tigers” recovered from a poor start to beat England in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – the same venue as Sunday’s final 30 years on.

Masood is typically philosophical.

“I am the oldest member of the squad and I was not even three years old in 1992,” he said.

“People always talk, and you see things on social media.

“It would be ironic but we are not paying attention to repeating ’92. Pakistan has that World Cup in the account.

“What matters if we add another to that tally.”

England fans will know Masood best for a seven-hour innings of 156 in a Test at Old Trafford in 2020, a knock built on patience and determination.

But, after a stellar season in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year when he scored 478 runs at an average of 39.83, Masood was picked for Pakistan’s series against England in September.

Rewind a year and he was working for ESPN Cricinfo during the 2021 T20 World Cup – a call-up a long way off – and this year had planned to return to Pakistan to play domestic cricket.

“My T20 career has been like the format – very fast paced,” says Masood, who has played 18 T20s for Pakistan in just two months.

“Now I am here, which is a bit surreal.”

As well as the PSL, he credits his T20 rise on a spell in this year’s Blast with Derbyshire – another thing for which he is grateful to England.

“Just being there in that set-up in the domestic environment of a country known as pioneers of white-ball cricket, anything can happen,” he said.

“I will always be grateful to England as a country and to English cricket. It is just a beautiful country to visit, live in and play cricket.

“You want to be the best and win things, but put that aside and the beauty of the game is how it links everyone together, how you form friendships.”

However, Masood is ready to put those friendships aside on Sunday.

“That is where professionalism comes in,” he added.

“We will all try to play our best cricket and if luck is on our side and we end up on the right side of the result, it will be worth remembering for the rest of our lives.”

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