Masood is in line to debut at the Riverside in Thursday’s fifth round LV= Insurance County Championship fixture (11am), and he will lead the side against the Division Two pacesetters.
Lyth has stood in as skipper for the first four games whilst the prolific top order batter has been on international duty with Pakistan over the last month and will step aside in the North East.
That doesn’t, however, mean Lyth’s leadership skills will not be called upon this week. They will, given overseas star Masood is leading a side he will have only just joined.
“Forget the captaincy role, he’s a world-class batter who can only help us going forwards,” said Lyth.
“Hopefully he can do as well for us as he did for Derbyshire last year.”
Left-handed Masood scored 1,832 runs for Derbyshire last summer in all competitions, including 12 fifties and three hundreds. Two of those hundreds were converted into double centuries.
Of those 1,832 runs, 1,074 of them came in only eight Championship matches at an average of 82.61.
Masood’s runs will be crucial for a team who have yet to hit their straps so far this season, drawing two and losing one added to a No Result.
On his captaincy, Lyth said: “It will be a challenge (leading a side so quickly after arrival).
“But there’s plenty of experienced heads around the group who can help Shan get to grips with the side that we’re going to have out.
“I’m sure he’s been watching from afar whilst he’s been playing for Pakistan and keeping in touch with Gibbo, and he’ll have a fair idea of what side he’ll want out there.
“He’s captained me before in the Pakistan Super League for Multan (November 2020) – it was only white ball, obviously.
“I was only there for the semi-final and the final, so it was quite hard to gauge exactly what kind of captain he is. But he’s got a good cricket brain, and he’s a great guy as well.”
Since signing a two-year contract with Yorkshire back in August, Masood has played all forms of international cricket for Pakistan, including against England at the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne last November.
The Durham University educated player’s lack of early-season availability for the club has been a frustration, though Lyth said: “When you sign top players, that kind of thing can happen. But hopefully he will start well and make an impact for us.”
Lyth’s early season stint as captain came to a close on Sunday when he scored a sensational 174 to secure a final day draw against Glamorgan when, chasing 492 for victory Yorkshire finished on 412-9.
It was Yorkshire’s second highest ever fourth-innings total in first-class cricket and their highest in any home game. Amazingly, it was also the highest ever fourth-innings total posted by any side at Headingley.
On his spell as captain, Lyth said: “It’s been good. I’d have liked a couple of wins on the board. It’s been a challenge at times, but that’s what captaincy’s about.”
Durham, who have just had a rest week, sit atop of the Division Two table having won two of their opening four matches, losing one and drawing the other.
Opener Alex Lees will face his former county, while new signing Ollie Robinson – the former Kent wicketkeeper – has been their standout performer with the bat so far with 303 runs.
England fringe seamer Matty Potts has taken 16 wickets, a haul matched by Ben Raine.
Durham have just signed overseas left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, the New Zealand Test bowler who played the final two Championship matches of 2019 for Yorkshire. He is available to debut against his former county.
Under the leadership of Scott Borthwick as captain and new Australian coach Ryan Campbell, Durham have taken on the ultra-aggressive approach to red ball cricket that has been made famous by England’s Test team.
It is no real surprise given Test skipper Ben Stokes is one of their own.
In terms of combatting that style of cricket, Lyth added: “Bowling wise, we’ll need to be on it. If we’re not on it, by the looks of things, they could punish us.
“That’s up to captain and bowlers to decide what sort of fields to set and what sort of length to bowl, that sort of thing.
“But if they do play like that, it’s going to give us some chances. It will be very interesting to see what happens.”