How Pakistan becomes No 1 in ICC test rankings?
Cricket

How Pakistan becomes No 1 in ICC test rankings?

Pakistan’s ICC Test ranking reflects their consistency in Test cricket. Misbah-ul-Haq’s team replaced India to become the new No. 1 team in ICC Test ranking. Pakistan defeated England in the final Test at Oval while India’s final Test against West Indies was washed away due to rain that helped Pakistan to remove India, who held the position for just a week, from the numero uno position.

Pakistan over the years have been termed as the talented team but failed to justify their talent when it required. But under the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan started playing an aggressive brand of cricket.

Pakistan’s rejuvenation in international cricket started in 2015 when they defeated Sri Lanka at home to win the series after 2006 in the Emerald Isle. The men in green since 2009 has been playing international cricket  at their adopted home in UAE.  In Test cricket, they made the desert cities Dubai and Abu Dhabi their citadel where they have defeated Australia and England and have drawn the series against New Zealand.

Pakistan a country who have been starved of cricket 

It is always difficult for a team to encourage its player to play outside home throughout the year. In the year 2009, there was a horrific terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. Since then no country wants to visit Pakistan, and as a result, Pakistan has been starving for international cricket.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the No. 1 ranking is not a “destination” for Pakistan.

“For us, the number one ranking is not a destination but part of a journey,” Misbah added.

“Our long-term objective and strategy are to remain competitive, continue to challenge the top sides with good cricket and once again become the most followed side like the Pakistan teams of yesteryear.”

Fans are deprived of cricket and local boys who want to take cricket as their profession lost interest in the game. However, Pakistan cricket in this difficult time found a solace playing cricket in UAE where they under the veteran captain Misbah has become invincible.

The most balanced team

The Test team of Pakistan is comprised of quality batsmen like Asad Shafiq , Azhar Ali and Younis Khan who recently scored his 32nd Test hundred against England. In the first Test of the series at Lord’s, captain Misbah-ul-Haq registered an empathic hundred that helped Pakistan to 1-0 series lead. Misbah’s push-up celebration after scoring a hundred  reflects his own confidence and later following winning the match, the entire team did the same which is was amazing. The push continued in the final match at Headingley when Azhar Ali scoring his hundred and adopted a push up the celebration. The new coach Micky Arthur also created a positive environment in the dressing room. He also instilled confidence among the players.

In the bowling department return of Mohammad Amir also helped Pakistan to strengthen its bowling department.  The 2010 England tour dented Pakistan’s spirit as Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, and  former captain Salman Butt was found guilty of spot-fixing. Now five years after, Mohammad Amir, who was 17 then, returned to international cricket and bowled with searing pace and swing to help Pakistan to win the Lord’s Test.

Leg spinner Yasir Shah let the world know about the dying charm of the leg spin during the just concluded England series, especially at the Lord’s Test where he took  10 wickets in the match.

The most consistent team

However, after the Lord’s Test victory Pakistan lost the Edgbaston and Old Trafford Test, but in the final Test Pakistan defeated England by 10 wickets. In the final Test at Oval, Sohail Khan, and Wahab Riaz’s reverse swing rattled the England batting attack.

Pakistan’s victory in the final match helped them to draw the series 2-2. But this is the moral victory for Pakistan as England had been considered the best team in the recent year. Pakistan drew the series against them is a no mean achievement. England in 2015 summer defeated Australia in Ashes, and South Africa at their home so a drawn series against Pakistan at home means the visitors gave a strong fight and have the quality and depth in the team.

The men in green didn’t play a single Test series on the home soil of since 2009, which proved they are the better than any other team in the world.

So they truly deserve the numero uno position in ICC Test rankings.  Australia, who were No 1 in Test rankings, lost three match Test series to Sri Lanka 3-0 and India won the Test series against a weak West Indies.

In the last couple of years, Pakistan has been the most consistent Test team in the world and finally their hard work paid off.

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