The ICC ODI team rankings were recently updated and readers are in for some jolting changes. While Australia holds the mace, followed by India the main shocks are in the below segment of the table. Pakistan, has slipped to the ninth spot in the Reliance ICC ODI Rankings. This means that the Pakistani team is in serious danger of missing out from the upcoming edition of the Champions Trophy. It must be remembered that only the top 8 sides make it to the Champions Trophy.
The last 12 -15 months have been profusely daunting for Pakistan cricket. They have been despondent in ODI’s and their World Cup campaign was nothing short of a depressing tale. They crashed out of the World Cup after a loss to eventual winners Australia in the quarter final. But the most worrying aspect for them has been that their performances in limited overs in UAE were terrible as well. They were whitewashed by Australia in UAE in October 2014.
Post the World Cup, their stars, Shahid Afridi and Misbah Ul Haq retired and that has only complicated matters. The Pakistanis barely a week ago were once again whitewashed in a 3 match ODI series. But this time, the humiliating loss came against the low ranked Bangladeshis in Bangladesh. Pakistan played the most dismal brand of cricket in Bangladesh, and the hosts needed no rocket science to whitewash them.
The result of this embarrassing loss has been that Pakistan has now slipped to number 9 in the ODI Rankings. Bangladesh meanwhile has jumped to the 8th spot. This means that on current rankings, Pakistan is ineligible to make it to the Champions Trophy as only the top 8 seeded sides play the event. The most important date for Pakistanis should be 30th September 2015. On the 30th of September, the deadline for the teams participating in the next edition of the Champions Trophy will come to a close. The top 8 sides on the 30th of September 2015 will qualify for the Champions Trophy. If Pakistan fail to do it, then it will surely be their lowest point in their cricketing history.
Bangladesh though, has the best opportunity to qualify for the Champions Trophy. They last participated in the event in 2006, when it was played in India. West Indies too is in a critical situation. West Indies is ranked 7th with 88 points, same as Bangladesh. The difference between Pakistan and Bangladesh is just of one point. This also means that only one point separates Pakistan and West Indies. It will be a nail biting contest between the three sides regarding who makes it to the mega event.
Pakistan though, has an opportunity to improve its rankings. They are scheduled to play ODI’s against Zimbabwe home and away. Wins in both the series’ will surely improve their chances. A loss in any one could be catastrophic. Bangladesh on the other hand will play South Africa and India at home in two 3 match series’. Even if Bangladesh wins a couple of games out of the six, they have a clear window to qualify. The scheduling of West Indies for ODI’s is still not decided.
It is a clear 3 way race between Pakistan, Bangladesh and West Indies to make it to the Champions Trophy. Pakistan is running short of time. The management needs to get its plans and executions right if Pakistan is to qualify. If Pakistan fails to do so, then it will have a disastrous impact on them.