LAHORE - Test cricketer Shan Masood Tuesday defended his Test batting average of 26.43, saying that it is unfair to judge him when he has never been given a consistent run of games in the side.

“I am not at all satisfied with my average of 26,” Masood said when asked at a press conference what he thinks of his low career numbers.

The left-handed batsman, however, maintained that he has never been given a proper chance.

“If you look at it objectively, then in my six years I have only played 15 Tests. I had not been given a lengthy run of games. It’s not that easy to perform when you’re playing on and off,” he said during a session break at the National Cricket Academy where the national team is undergoing a pre-season fitness camp.

He said he had played only 15 Test matches in six years with an average of two-and-a-half Tests a year, compared to 30 or 40 Test matches played by a player of different teams of the world. “It is not a broad way method to judge performance,” he said.

“I request that players should not be evaluated until they’ve been given a proper chance. When someone has played 30 or 40 matches, and even then if performances are not there, then of course we can talk about it.”

To make his own case, Masood gave the example of Misbahul Haq, the training camp commandant and favourite to become the next Pakistan head coach.

“Misbah bhai’s career also took time to take off,” he said in an attempt to justify his place in the Test side despite his unflattering numbers. “He (Misbah) was a late bloomer too. Every player has their own trajectory. International cricket is not easy. It takes time to learn your ropes.”

“The process of selection is not in my control. There are experts for that. It’s the board’s decision. We should respect whoever comes in their plans,” he said when pressed on why he continues to hold a position.

Despite his lowly statistics, Masood’s name has come up as a potential candidate to replace Sarfraz Ahmed as the new captain, perhaps due to the promise he shows and the way he carries himself. The player himself did not appear too keen to discuss the topic.

“This is just media speculation,” he said. “I have neither heard anything officially, nor have I spoken to anyone about this. I am available for Pakistan in every capacity but my first priority is as a player. When there is nothing official, I would not comment on it myself. If something happens later, then we’d see.”

The left-handed batsman rejected a questioner that he wants to bat at a specific number in batting order. “My job is to play quality cricket for Pakistan and, as a player I am available to Pakistan in every capacity (in batting number).”

Masood appreciated PCB’s decision to stage a training camp. “We have a hectic schedule coming up. We have all three forms of cricket then there also is domestic cricket, so it’s a positive step by the PCB to work on our fitness as well as our skills. In the first week we worked on our physical fitness, and over the next two weeks we will work on skills.”

He said it is good for the safety of players to wear protective safety gear, allowed by the International Cricket Council and it does not mean that if any player enters the field equipped with safety gears he has fear factor of getting injured as injuries are though happen in the game and the best way to avoid them is to follow the laid down procedure of the ICC regarding the use of safety gear.