Shan Masood says playing in a Vitality Blast Finals Day is on his cricketing bucket list – and he wants to tick it off this season with Yorkshire.

Masood, the Pakistan Test captain, will captain his county in this year’s T20 competition, which starts on Thursday evening when the Vikings welcome Worcestershire Rapids to Headingley (6,30pm).

It may yet be that he actually doesn’t play in that game because of the right wrist injury he suffered batting during the second half of the Championship draw against Northamptonshire on Sunday. But the Yorkshire hierarchy are confident that if he does miss out on the opening night, it won’t be an issue that keeps him out for too long. He will be assessed over the next 48 hours.

Masood, the left-handed batter, has had some memorable T20 experiences in his distinguished career, some more enjoyable than others.

For example, the 34-year-old admits that looking back on his appearance in a World Cup final – at Melbourne in November 2022 when Pakistan were beaten by England – remains a painful memory. On the flipside, he was in the Multan Sultans side who won the Pakistan Super League in 2021.

“Finals Day is a box I definitely want to tick,” said Masood.

Shan Masood

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Shan Masood models Yorkshire’s new Blast kit.

“I’ve played the PSL final and won that competition. I’ve also played a World Cup final, which I don’t really want to think about to be honest. Even though it was a proud moment to cross the line, there are still a lot of scars.

“Finals Day would be great, but it’s step by step for us. We have to start well.”

Masood has already had a near miss with Finals Day. In his one season with Derbyshire in 2022, he helped them reach the quarter-finals but had to miss the clash with Somerset at Taunton because of international duty with his country. Derbyshire lost. 

That was the year when Yorkshire made their most recent of three Finals Day appearances, beaten by Lancashire Lightning in the semi-final at Edgbaston.

Yorkshire’s bid for Finals Day number four – and, of course, title number one – begins against Worcestershire on Thursday, which is the first of three North Group matches in four days. They face Leicestershire and Northamptonshire away on Friday and Sunday. 

You can see why Masood says, “We have to start well”.

Shan Masood

Picture by John Heald. Shan Masood receives treatment on the wrist injury he suffered whilst batting against Northamptonshire on Sunday from Yorkshire’s head of science and medicine, Ed Owen,

He continued: “Three games in four days is nice.

“I’ve played in the PSL and have played four games in six days, I’ve played three games in four days and three games in three days at times in different leagues.

“When you have these kind of games and runs, it’s important to get momentum on your side. 

“We start at home, and if we can win that and get on the road, that could really set our Blast up.”

Yorkshire, eighth-placed finishers in last season’s North Group – owing much to a retrospective points deduction, will have international trio Donavan Ferreira, Dawid Malan and Joe Root available to bolster their batting line-up.

While Root will be available for the first half of the competition in the build-up to the start of England’s Test summer in mid-July, Masood’s fellow overseas player – the South African debutant Ferreira – will take the wicketkeeping gloves in this competition.

Joe Root completing a cover drive whilst batting

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Joe Root last played Blast cricket for Yorkshire in May 2022.

“I haven’t seen a great deal of Donovan, but every person I’ve spoken to about him says that we’ve signed a gem of a player,” said the skipper. “I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“I expect him to bring a lot to our side, whether it’s finishing games or taking the gloves.

“We’re really excited about him.”

Yorkshire won six and lost six in last year’s North Group. Those six wins, a club record equalling run, was sandwich in between two three-game losing streaks before their final two games were rained off.

“We were consistent with six wins, but either side of it we could have maybe scrapped another couple of wins when we weren’t playing so well,” reflected Masood.

“Yes, there are elements of luck – we had two games washed out at the end against Durham and Lancashire, and winning either of those could have made the different.

Donavan Ferreira

Picture by Punit Paranjpe via Getty Images. Donavan Ferreira  on duty with the Rajasthan Royals at the recent IPL.

“There were a few performances which were sluggish, but there were a few very close games like the Birmingham game at Headingley and the Worcester game at New Road when we were defending 19 off the last over and Adam Finch hit three sixes.

“Along with the good work you do, you must also do some scrappy stuff, which could be as a batter fighting for those extra 30 runs or as a bowler getting out of an over.

“That’s how it goes in franchise and competition cricket.”

Looking at Yorkshire’s batting line-up, it has star quality in the likes of Ferreira, Malan, Masood himself, Root and the county’s leading Blast run-scorer Adam Lyth. 

It is no secret that they are currently stretched by injury and unavailability in the seam bowling department. But they are well stocked with spinners in Dom Bess, Jafer Chohan and Dan Moriarty.

“We have a lot of things to look forward to,” added Masood, with a definite air of confidence.

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