Shan Masood says he is enjoying his ‘bigger picture’ captaincy role in the ongoing Metro Bank One-Day Cup.
The Yorkshire captain is leading a squad full of young up and comers as they bid for success in the short term but also development with an eye on the future.
Pakistan batter Masood, aged 33, is the only player above 30 Yorkshire have fielded through August, with a host of senior heads unavailable because of the Hundred.
The young Vikings remain in the hunt for knockout qualification with two games remaining, starting against Group One leaders Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road tomorrow (11am).
Masood said: “With the senior players, you don’t have to tell them much. You just have to know them inside and out as people.
“Whereas, there is a bigger contribution and purpose with the younger boys – telling them that whatever they’re going through, it’s normal and part and parcel of being a professional cricketer.
“There’s a bit more of a contribution required off the field as well as on it. You get to know the guys better as people and players.
“The thing is, learning never stops for anyone. I learn things from the younger players, the same as they might pick something up from me. It’s a two-way process, and I’m really enjoying my time.
“We’ve talked about it a lot.
“This particular Metro Bank Cup is really important for us because it’s the guys who are going to be taking this club forward for the next 5-10 years. A lot of them you will see them become senior players.
“We’ve spoken about how important this is.
“Sometimes it’s not going to be about the result, but whether we are nailing our process and our skill and are we learning from the experiences.”
Leicestershire are top of the group with 12 points, having won six of their seven matches and have already qualified for the knockout stages. They beat Middlesex at Grace Road last night by 23 runs on DLS. They were 173-5 chasing 191 when the rain arrived.
For Masood and Yorkshire, they have significant work to do.
The Vikings are sixth in the table with six points, only one behind Nottinghamshire, who have played seven and hold the third and final qualifying position.
Lancashire and Kent are also sat on six points alongside Yorkshire, but hold fourth and fifth place courtesy of a superior net run-rate.
Yorkshire will almost certainly need to win their remaining two fixtures, including Middlesex at Radlett on Tuesday, to have any chance of progression.
“I don’t think there’s much you can separate between the teams in the group,” said Masood.
“Yes, Leicestershire have played some really good cricket and have won a lot of their games, but that’s the beauty of the game – the opportunity it provides you to go and beat a team who is top of the table.
“Once you do that, confidence can grow through the group.”
Yorkshire’s hopes of progression were dented by Thursday’s heavy 177-run defeat against second-placed Hampshire at York when, in pursuit of 312, they were bowled out for 134.
Team wise, Masood would like to see Yorkshire be more ruthless with the ball.
In their two defeats against Kent at Scarborough and Hampshire at York, they have seen teams recover from 49-4 to 282-9 and 108-4 to 311-6 respectively.
With his own batting, the left-hander wants to make the most of starts such as 31, 54 and 18 so far.
“You can’t be carrying what you’ve done, whether it be good or bad, to the next day,” added Masood. “That’s cricket. You play one ball at a time.
“You can’t beat yourselves up with these sorts of performances.
“As philosophical as it may sound, the greatest adversities will teach you your best lessons.
“My message to the boys will be, ‘It’s one bad day – probably our first in this tournament. Let it go and look forward to two games on the road, which hopefully we can win’.”
Leicestershire are captained by wicketkeeper-batter Lewis Hill and have former Yorkshire overseas player Peter Handscomb available. The Australian is taking the keeping gloves. Their other overseas player is South African all-rounder Wiaan Mulder.
The Foxes are missing only three players to the Hundred – Colin Ackermann, Rehan Ahmed and Callum Parkinson.
They are coached by James Taylor and Alfonso Thomas, who have taken charge on an interim basis since the county parted ways with Paul Nixon at the start of last month.