It will be a case of friends reunited for Shan Masood when Derbyshire Falcons visit Headingley tomorrow (11.30am), but the Yorkshire captain is also hoping they go home as friends disappointed.

Overseas batter Masood has been speaking about his decision to swap Derbyshire for Yorkshire this summer in the build-up to the latest Vitality Blast fixture, which is the first part of a T20 double header with the Northern Diamonds. 

The Pakistan international was with Derbyshire last season, when he scored 1,872 runs for them in all cricket, including a friendly or two.

It was form which caught the eye of Ottis Gibson and the Yorkshire hierarchy, who offered him a two-year deal to move up the M1.

“It was special,” said Masood of his time at the Incora County Ground. 

“I owe a lot to Derbyshire and to Mickey Arthur (head of cricket).

“It was an amazing dressing room environment there, and it was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make to leave them.

“I don’t want to get too emotional about it (the fixture). 

“At the end of the day, it will be nice to see everyone and have a chat before and after the game. But when it’s game time, I’ll be professional and hope the boys can pull off another good result.”

Of course, Masood will have the inside track on a Falcons side who reached the quarter-finals last year but have yet to find similar form this year.

Shan Masood

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images. Shan Masood batting for Derbyshire in 2022.

They have won their last two games against Leicestershire and Birmingham on Thursday and last night having lost their first three. 

“They might say the same, that they know me inside and out,” smiled Masood. 

“Look, it’s an on the day thing. Whoever takes the right decisions and makes the fewest mistakes, they’re going to end on top. 

“I’m obviously going to use the knowledge I have, but at the end of the day – as I say – it’s an on the day thing. Hopefully we are the team that plays well on the day.”

Derbyshire, captained by South African batter Leus du Plooy, have signed Masood’s fellow Pakistanis Haider Ali and Zaman Khan as their overseas players.

Ali has been opening the batting and Khan, a slingy Lasith Malinga style fast bowler, has good pace and change-ups.

But on Thursday, it was club legend Wayne Madsen who starred with a brilliant 109 not out to help them see off the Foxes. He also hit an unbeaten 71 against the Bears. 

The Vikings head into this fixture with an identical two wins and three defeats record to Derbyshire in the North Group, and it is followed by matches against Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road on Tuesday and Worcestershire Rapids at Headingley on Friday.  

“This period is the most crucial part of our season, and we can set our season up by taking this winning momentum with us,” said the skipper.

Dawid Malan was the standout player against Lancashire, hitting a stunning 83 off 50 balls as the Vikings posted 195-6. 

“Mala is showing a lot of guys how to play this format,” added Masood. 

“When we think of T20, we think of pure strength and sixes. But you just have to meet the ball and time and caress it. 

“He’s hitting the ball as long as anyone and is playing as quickly as anyone. He’s done it against two quality opposition.”

Following Yorkshire v Derbyshire will be the Northern Diamonds against the Southern Vipers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, starting at 3.30pm.

The Diamonds need one win from their remaining two games to secure a top-three finish and a place at Finals Day next Saturday at New Road. The Vipers – the defending champions – are also in contention.

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