KARACHI: A Pakistani youngster is making his bones as a world-class batsman in England courtesy of a project that is funded and run by the prestigious Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Featuring in the MCCU championship which is competition between the top six cricket universities in Britain, Shan Masood hit a fluent century to follow his unbeaten 58 in a first-class match against Durham county earlier this month.
han, a former Pakistan Under-19 vice-captain, scored an unbeaten 120 off 149 balls as Durham MCCU beat Leeds/Bradford MCCU in a two-day match on Sunday.
urham MCCU first took on Leeds/Bradford MCCU on Friday in the one-day championship and beat their rivals by three wickets while chasing 189. In the two-day match on Saturday which was decided on a first-innings lead basis, the Strong Durham MCCU batting posted a mammoth 462-3 in their allotted 103 overs with centuries from their top three batsman — Luc Durandt (South Africa and Kent) scored 129 off 140 balls, Christopher Jones (Somerset) scored 100 of 158 balls and Shan Masood scored 120 not out off 149 balls.
Leeds/Bradford University replied with 300-9 in 110 overs. Natt Watkins, Luke Patel and Shan Masood picked up two wickets each for Durham. Durham next take on Oxford MCCU starting from Wednesday in Oxford.
Shan was one of the highest scorers in the one-day national tournament with about 300 runs at an average of 72 runs. He was the highest scorer with 76 for HBL in the final.
The MCCU championship features six universities which have cricket setups known as the centre of excellence and is sponsored by the MCC and ECB, where each centre of excellence is equipped with the latest cricketing and training facilities, giving the students the same exposure given to international cricket players and each of these centre of excellences is ran by professional coaches, the two standouts being Graeme Fowler, the ex-England international cricketer who heads the Durham MCCU and Graeme Diley who heads the Loughborough MCCU.
MCC’s idea behind the MCCU championship is that talented young cricketers should not have to make a choice between their cricket and their education — they should be able to pursue both.
The Club therefore funds and administers six university cricket academies in England and Wales — the MCC Universities (MCCUs) — which give young players the opportunity to receive top-level coaching and playing opportunities whilst furthering their education.
They are based in Cambridge, Cardiff, Durham, Leeds, Loughborough and Oxford, and incorporate a total of thirteen institutions.
Around a fifth of all English-qualified players in the county system attended an MCCU, and several current captains (including current skipper Andrew Strauss) are graduates.