DUBAI: Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal on Friday rose to the position of world’s highest ranking spinner a day after guiding his team to a comprehensive ten wicket win in the first Test against England inside three days.
The 34-year-old registered his second ten-wicket haul, a career best 7-55 in the first innings and 3-42 in the second to help Pakistan take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Ajmal termed his top ranking as a “great honour.”
“It’s a great honour to be the best spinner in the world but performing in my team’s win is always more important for me than anything else,” Ajmal said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) added: “Ajmal earned 117 ratings points for his magnificent bowling performance, now has England’s second-ranked James Anderson firmly within his sights who has 37 more ratings points.”
Given that Ajmal is still in a qualification period for bowlers, it is likely that he will move even further up the ladder depending on how he performs in the second Test which starts in Abu Dhabi on January 25, the ICC said.
South African paceman Dale Steyn tops the bowlers’ list with 896 rating points.
Ajmal has also leapfrogged England’s off-spinner Graeme Swann who has slipped one position to fourth, while Ajmal’s spin partner Abdul Rehman has also leapt five places which has put him in a career best 14th position.
The latest rankings have brought bad news for England batsmen.
England opener Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, who entered in third and fourth positions respectively, have slipped two and three positions respectively, while Kevin Pietersen has fallen out of the top 10.
Pietersen, who scored two and nought in the Dubai Test, has lost six places and is now in 16th position while England captain Andrew Strauss has also dropped six places to 34th spot.
The only England batsmen to make any upward movements are wicketkeeper Matt Prior in 18th (up by one) and Swann in 64th (up by 11).
In contrast, the Pakistan batsmen have made positive gains with Younus Khan in fourth (up by two), captain Misbahul Haq in 14th (up by three), Mohammad Hafeez in 30th (up by 15), Taufeeq Umar in 32nd (up by six) and wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal in 70th (up by 23).
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