Despite a 1-0 series-loss against Sri Lanka, Pakistan has risen to fourth in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test rankings, overtaking India in the process.
The new rankings, released by the ICC yesterday, reflect all Test series completed since August 2009 with results from the previous year having dropped off. Over the next 12 months, new results will be added to the table as they happen so that by July 2013 there will be four years of results taken into consideration.
Pakistan have lost just five Tests in the last two years – including three in the infamous 2010 series against England – and the series-loss against Sri Lanka was the first under Misbhaul Haq’s tenure as captain.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s chances of replacing England as number one after their forthcoming three- Test series became more difficult. The South Africans slipped to third in the list – Australia replacing them in second – and dropped to nine points off England from just a point adrift.
The Proteas slipped down because their series victories in England and Australia four years ago were no longer valid to the rankings. A 1-0 or 2-1 defeat to South Africa would see the victors go level on points with England, but above them by a decimal fraction.
Should England either draw or win, though, they will stay on top – and if they were to whitewash the tourists, South Africa would drop to fourth.
Misbah sees bright future
Meanwhile, Misbah said that Pakistan’s future was secure with the emergence of promising young players despite losing the Test and One-Day International (ODI) series on their tour of Sri Lanka.
Pakistan lost the five-match ODI series 3-1 and the Test series 1-0. They levelled a two-match Twenty20 series 1-1. The Test defeat ended Pakistan’s unbeaten run of seven series. That unbeaten streak also included a 3-0 whitewash of world number one Test team England earlier this year.
Misbah, who captained Pakistan since their defeat against England in 2010, deplored the defeats on the Sri Lanka tour.
“Defeats in the one-days and Tests are disappointing,” Misbah told reporters on the team’s return home on Saturday. “We could have won the one-day series but our fielding let us down in the last two matches. The Test defeat was also unfortunate. But the performance of young players like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan assured Pakistan has a good future. Our junior players did very well in the Tests. Ali, Shafiq and Junaid have done well in the series and with their performance we can say that our future is secure. In difficult situations these players performed well for us. The way Adnan Akmal played (in Pallekele Test) with a fractured finger is a good sign. Junaid is a big plus.”
Ali scored two hundreds in the Tests, while Shafiq hit a century in the final Test. Sri Lanka won the first Test in Galle by 209 runs. Left-arm paceman Junaid took 14 wickets in the three Tests, including five-wickets hauls in the second and third Tests. (With additional input from AFP)
“The Test defeat was also unfortunate. But the performance of young players like Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan assured Pakistan has a good future.”
“We had a number of new players in the Twenty20 so the first match was lost because of inexperience but we came back well to win the second game.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.
More in SportsCricket: ‘We aim to win the World Twenty20’