10 Dec 2019, 18:34 IST
Shan Masood is relishing playing on home turf as Pakistan prepare to host their first Test match in over a decade.
Pakistan welcome Sri Lanka to Rawalpindi on Thursday for the first of two Tests to round off 2019.
It is the first time a Test will be played in Pakistan since the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked in Lahore in early 2009, with six policemen and two civilians killed.
Pakistan head into the series on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Australia, but Masood believes a return home has buoyed the entire squad, with every player eager to perform at their best in what he says is a momentous moment for the country.
“If you look at the best players in Test cricket, their home records are superior to away records,” batsman Masood said.
“You are more familiar with the atmosphere, the pitches, and enjoy crowd support, and that was one thing that was missing from Pakistan cricket.
“Bringing Test cricket here is our biggest accomplishment. Test cricket as a whole suffered around the world, and in Pakistan, we’ve dedicated more to white-ball cricket. This is an opportunity for children in Pakistan to have a proper look at Test cricket.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) December 10, 2019
“They’ll look at people like Azhar Ali, who scored a 300 and a double-century in Australia. They’ll look at Asad Shafiq, who has scored hundreds all around the world.
“We’ve got exciting pacers like Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi. We’ve got Mohammad Abbas, who has been ranked number one in the world, and Yasir Shah, who has been the number one spinner in the world. Babar Azam is climbing up the Test rankings as well.
“This is a chance for our young generation to finally watch their heroes and it was unfortunate that legends like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan couldn’t play in their home grounds in the peak of their careers.
“So I’m really excited, because I feel this will propel Pakistan as a generation and the future generations of this country to take up cricket. It’s almost going to be like everyone is making their debuts, because we’re all playing in Pakistan for the first time.”
The omens are good for Pakistan, with Sri Lanka having won just one of their last five Test series against them, though they did win 2-0 in their last encounter in 2017.
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