ICC rankings August 22, 2012

Pakistan's unexpected fourth

South Africa's deserved rise to No.1 in Test cricket offered the world a lingering view of the new Test rankings. The top three were as expected, vanquished England sitting above Australia
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South Africa's deserved rise to No.1 in Test cricket offered the world a lingering view of the new Test rankings. The top three were as expected, vanquished England sitting above Australia. But fourth place, let's admit, was a distraction. Only two summers ago, a Pakistan team that had lost the art of competitiveness in Test cricket also lost the heart and soul of its bowling attack. Yet today it sits a comfortable fourth in the Test rankings, an immense and unexpected achievement.

Pakistan cricket is a difficult subject. Witness the reluctance of any commentator to draw Pakistan's position into the discussion about the world rankings. How is it possible that an impoverished, disgraced and exiled cricket nation sits above, for example, the world's richest and strongest cricket power? How do you explain a phenomenon that, albeit aided by the complex statistical contortions of the Kendrix ranking system, appears to defy all expectation? How is it possible to even discuss the merits of Pakistan cricket without dredging up the murky depths of corruption that defiled the home of cricket as thoroughly as England's last stand honoured it?

What the next chapter of this remarkable story offers is anybody's guess? But for the moment Pakistan cricket has risen from the flames, like the phoenix that ended the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. Pakistan cricket has these cycles of rise and fall, of wounding and healing, of glory and ruin, although without periodicity or logic. Despite this fluctuation, the overall trend has been downwards, until the upward flick of the last two years.

It is six years ago, for example, that the team of Bob Woolmer and Inzamam-ul Haq was able to plan for reaching the top; the progress halted by another controversial tour of England. Twenty years ago, Pakistan cricket was an exciting enterprise with thrilling fast bowlers and swashbuckling batsmen, a team that Usain Bolt supported as a child. Today's team is an exercise in pragmatism that would struggle to enrapture the childhood of any sprint champion of the future.

Yet in the month that celebrates the independence of Pakistan, and spurs such contemplation on the purpose of its cricket, every true heart and soul turns to notions of realising the dreams of a nation whose cricket is the most visible barometer of its success on the international stage. Hence the mere sport of cricket remains important, despite the many slings, arrows and drones that are besetting Pakistan. The cricketers, at least those who are worldly enough, will understand the significance of even a minor scuffle against Australia in the United Arab Emirates. Few teams will place as much importance on success in the World Twenty20 as will Pakistan.

The underlying theme of the next cricket year, however, will be Pakistan's relationship with its noisy neighbour. India and Pakistan meet in a warm-up before the World T20 in September and in the Champions Trophy in June 2013; no major tournament, it seems, is feasible without a head-to-head between these two eternal rivals. In between, Pakistan's mooted trip to India may usher in another era of bilateral cricket, an essential fixture for the credibility of the international game and the distraction of both populations. Cricket diplomacy is a disputed concept but cricket is a high-profile example of the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan, buoyed by the simple hope that familiarity will breed trust.

You might call me a dreamer but I'm not the only one among Indians and Pakistanis worldwide. Cricket is an opportunity to begin the process of reconciliation, and we must seize every genuine opportunity. Take South Africa, for example. Vernon Philander and Hashim Amla are beacons of the lengthy reconciliation process that was started after the end of Apartheid. In these circumstances, only a successful Test series in South Africa can challenge the fascination of Pakistan's adventures with India. Win that unwinnable series and the next Usain Bolt might even begin to pay attention to the flickering star of Pakistan cricket.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ali on September 30, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    Pakistani team is sucha laanti team , they always insults pakistan after loosing against india... I start to hate them. they always disappoint us.

  • Hamza Abbas on September 25, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Need an info: According to the schedule of Super 8s it is mentioned that C1 vs D2. According to my assessment C1 means the team stood first in Group C. If that is the case how come SriLanka play against NewZealand when Srilanka is ranked at # 2 in Group C. Can anyone plz explain that what is meant by C2, D2 etc....

  • Mubashar on September 17, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    Jawai ka Susral ko Sabak!!!! India v Pak T20

    Shoib Malik: 37(18) match winning contribution!

  • Suraj Gaire on September 14, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    I am from Nepal and I am a great fans of Pakistani cricket and the way they play for their nation. Pakistan has produces many great cricket for the world and their bowling was great among other nation bowler.But now i haven't seen that bowling attack from Pakistani cricket.and hope team will be again t20 champion in sir-Lanka...BEST OF LUCK PAKISTAN.....

  • Engr. AHMAD on September 5, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    Pakistan was winning consistently they even defeaated No 1 test team 3 nil .....All of a sudden they began losing everything.....WHAT CHANGED???? COACH....................Bring back MOHSIN KAHN or MIANDAD & Pk will start winning everything again

  • Vishwa on September 4, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    Lot of Pak fans are saying that India hardly win in SA, Australia or England! But, tell me -- when do these country win against India in India?! It is all about home advantage my friend...! There is nothing wrong in winning in your own country...

  • Shah JamilKhan on September 3, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    Misbah is definitely not fit tobe a member of the Pakistan ODI Team . He has not scored a fifty in OdIs for ages . Further , he can ever score at a pace needed . The best he can do is to score in singles. He won,t retire , he should be retired .

  • Salim Nasir Khan on September 3, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Even on batting powerlay Misbah cannot score at arun aball. Why is he allowed to play for he ODIs Team ?

  • SN Qazi on September 3, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Why doesn't, the PCB retire Misbah from ODIs . It is really painful watching his slow plodding cricket from him .

  • Kausar Nabil on September 3, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    After Avery good start given by Haferz and Jamshed Nasir can Misbah show even once he is fit to play in ODIs as a Batsman and score a run s ball . If he cannot he should do the decent thing and retire from ODIs

  • Ali on September 30, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    Pakistani team is sucha laanti team , they always insults pakistan after loosing against india... I start to hate them. they always disappoint us.

  • Hamza Abbas on September 25, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Need an info: According to the schedule of Super 8s it is mentioned that C1 vs D2. According to my assessment C1 means the team stood first in Group C. If that is the case how come SriLanka play against NewZealand when Srilanka is ranked at # 2 in Group C. Can anyone plz explain that what is meant by C2, D2 etc....

  • Mubashar on September 17, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    Jawai ka Susral ko Sabak!!!! India v Pak T20

    Shoib Malik: 37(18) match winning contribution!

  • Suraj Gaire on September 14, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    I am from Nepal and I am a great fans of Pakistani cricket and the way they play for their nation. Pakistan has produces many great cricket for the world and their bowling was great among other nation bowler.But now i haven't seen that bowling attack from Pakistani cricket.and hope team will be again t20 champion in sir-Lanka...BEST OF LUCK PAKISTAN.....

  • Engr. AHMAD on September 5, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    Pakistan was winning consistently they even defeaated No 1 test team 3 nil .....All of a sudden they began losing everything.....WHAT CHANGED???? COACH....................Bring back MOHSIN KAHN or MIANDAD & Pk will start winning everything again

  • Vishwa on September 4, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    Lot of Pak fans are saying that India hardly win in SA, Australia or England! But, tell me -- when do these country win against India in India?! It is all about home advantage my friend...! There is nothing wrong in winning in your own country...

  • Shah JamilKhan on September 3, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    Misbah is definitely not fit tobe a member of the Pakistan ODI Team . He has not scored a fifty in OdIs for ages . Further , he can ever score at a pace needed . The best he can do is to score in singles. He won,t retire , he should be retired .

  • Salim Nasir Khan on September 3, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Even on batting powerlay Misbah cannot score at arun aball. Why is he allowed to play for he ODIs Team ?

  • SN Qazi on September 3, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Why doesn't, the PCB retire Misbah from ODIs . It is really painful watching his slow plodding cricket from him .

  • Kausar Nabil on September 3, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    After Avery good start given by Haferz and Jamshed Nasir can Misbah show even once he is fit to play in ODIs as a Batsman and score a run s ball . If he cannot he should do the decent thing and retire from ODIs

  • Kausar Nabil on September 3, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    After Avery good start given by Haferz and Jamshed Nasir can Misbah show even once he is fit to play in ODIs as a Batsman and score a run s ball . If he cannot he should do the decent thing and retire from ODIs

  • Kausar Nabil on September 3, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    After Avery good start given by Haferz and Jamshed Nasir can Misbah show even once he is fit to play in ODIs as a Batsman and score a run s ball . If he cannot he should do the decent thing and retire from ODIs

  • SN Qazi on September 3, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    I hope the Pakistani players including the Captain are learning watching the Australians on setting the field and getting the bowlers tibial to a set field . Also the Pakistanisplayers needto see the Australia's to see the level they need to teach if they want to reach high standard of fielding

  • SN Qazi on September 3, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    I hope the Pakistani players including the Captain are learning watching the Australians on setting the field and getting the bowlers tibial to a set field . Also the Pakistanisplayers needto see the Australia's to see the level they need to teach if they want to reach high standard of fielding

  • Shamshad Ali Khan on September 3, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    After dismal performance in the first two ODis and after his well deserved International Recognition as the world,s worst wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal has been retained again . This is mind boggling .

  • javed Hasan on September 1, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Pakistan 's victory is specially creditable coming as outdid after very poor fielding by the PakistanTeam . A very simple catch was missed by Umar Akmal , very poor wicket keeping including failure to run out from four feet by KamranAkmal . The bowling by Sohail Tanveer was indeed well below acceptable standards . Both Sarfaraz andSami are far superior Ascompared to Kamran Akmal andSohail Tanveer . It is a pity that these much better players were dropped.

  • aftab from VB on September 1, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    Don't we hear too much of the bowling talent in Pakistan? Our spinners are older and fast bowlers don't deliver - doesn't add up. I never hear Aussies having bowling talent - doesn't add up either. Looks like the only way to explain the rise of Pakistan is either in falling of other teams around them or that you don't really need to be consistent in winning. But then when we see that we are talking of a world with hardly 7 - 8 competetive teams, it all adds up. Whatever, the fact is that when Pakistan is playing they are the most interesting team to watch and follow, best entertainers, full of surprises, and with Misbah at the helm, they can win too. That's good enough.

  • FAZRUL GAFOOR-Sri Lanka on September 1, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Congratulation for Pakistan for winning the 2 nd ODI against Australia. Great batting sweet timing and extraordinary strokes from Nasir Jmashid. After long time successfully chased a target without loosing 5 wikets for 150. Please get rid of Sohail Tanveer

  • Shamshad ALi Khan on September 1, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    Once again Kamran Almal made a display ofvetypoor wicket keeping .as was demonstrated in the first ODI he cannot bat against first tier teams. Why was he recalled and what is his secret that after bad performance after each recall he is rested and recalled again .

  • Vishwa on August 31, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    Many Pak fans are saying that Pak has got position# 4 for playing away! Tell me when do you play at home anyway? ;-)

  • SN Qazi on August 30, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Misbah said that Pakistan lost since several of it's batsmen performed poorly . When was the last time Misbah himself performed as. Batsman ? He himself , Younus Khan should retire from ODIs . The PCB should stop selecting tried.non performing cricketers such as Imran Farhat , Shoaib Malik, Imran Nazir lent should be given a chance if we want to build up the Team to regain our level. Ofbrankings . As of now we are fit to play only against Teams such as Bangla Desh , Zimbabwe , Ireland etc.

  • Shadab on August 30, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    wow!

  • Jawad on August 30, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    we need Tanvir Ahmed to support Junaid Khan

  • Salman Leghari on August 30, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Despite the restrictions on Pakistan to not host series in Pakistan, Our team occupies 4th rank that sure is surprising and overwhelming at the same time. It proves one thing we DO have the talent, what we lack are the eyes that would see it. Umar Akmal has potential but he'll only end up being the next Afridi if not nurtured properly. And trust me we don't want another Afridi in the team. With Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq two players who would make the nucleus of Pakistan batting line up are Umar Ameen and Haris Sohail. We need to start breeding true CRICKETERS rather than SUPERSTARS. I have been a big fan of Wasim Akram since i was 8 but only as a fast bowler, I blame the man for not helping out Pakistan cricket unearth the next big thing in fast bowling just like he was unearthed by the one and only Imran Khan. Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanveer, Anwar Ali the are mediocre bowlers with all due respect for a nation whose had Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar.

  • asad on August 29, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    Bring 2 lefties in playing XI in rest of the games (all formates). One is Junaid Khan and other is Rehman. Deploy 4 spinners (Ajmal, Rehman, Afridi and Hafeez) and 2 pacers (Junaid and Tanveer) and I guarantee you Aussies will struggle.

  • apoorv on August 29, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    pakistan became no 4 by playing away from home its a joke since last tean years india won test matches in aus south africa and a series in england 2007 with cb series in australia pakistan no test in aus sa and a single test in england india won test match in sa aus eng and srilanka where pakistan was thrashed since 2011 pakistan is playing in asia that too against bangladesh srilanka these teams are below par india just lost two series that too outside india pakistan barely done well in westindies also where india done well pakistan is a very ordinary team as india showed in asia cup by just hammering them and future also looks blink last ten yrs pak two times whitewashed in aus and smashed in sa check past records since 2002 india and pak reality will be there even lost to india in pak 2004 one day and test series ....

  • Javed Hasan on August 29, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    You cannot expect to win against Australia if you include tired horses like Imran Farhat , Shoaib Malik , Kamran Akmal and Imran Nazir . Teams like Australia have done video studies of their flawed techniques and weaknesses.

  • fhs on August 29, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Our strength has always been the bowling (not the batting). We get the opposition out to win the game -- this has always been the case. Making batting stronger is same as making the bowling weaker. This was the approach adopted in the 1st ODI – thanks to Misbah and Whatmore. Hafeez should always be the 6th bowler. Cheema is not a good choice. He must be replaced with Junaid (who is the best left arm swing quality bowler in the lot. Rehman must be in playing XI. I would strongly suggest to replace Cheema with Junaid and Azhar Ali witth Rehman. And make Kamran Akmal to bat at #3 (make the effective use of him). If Pakistan has any chance to beat Aussies in this series, they have to adopt “attacking approach” with full bowling strength. For me, the causes of failure in the 1st ODI were, 1) defensive approach, 2) absence of Junaid and Rehman, 3) wrong batting order of Kamran

  • Shamshad ALi Khan on August 29, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    What a disaster Kamran Akmal has been making 4 runs in 14 balls during power play and further in dropping scratch as a wicket keeper . I blame Pakistan ,s defeat on our Selectors for including Kamran Akmal in the Team and Misbah for selecting him to play .

  • Sohrab Khan on August 29, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Pakistan has seen its fair share of both highs and lows. I take pride in the fact that Pakistan, despite every hurdle that came its way, found a way to endure, to learn and move on. Surely it has seen better days when it had the likes of Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam and all the legends. Everything that goes up must come down and same is the case with Pakistan. It rose up as the most entertaining team on earth and then it crashed. But now its time for the greens to pull it all back together and aim high. Pakistan is Number 4? I do not see why we cant make it back to the top with a bit of consistency and improvement.

  • Kausar Nabil on August 28, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Junaid should have been for the first ODI in place of Misbah . Misbah with his snail paced batting is a liability for the Team .

  • Javed Hasan on August 28, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Australia ,s trump card against Pakistan is going to be Kamran Akmal keeping wickets for Pakistan .

  • Premnauth ojha on August 28, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Good to see pakistan playing competitive cricket, hope they do well in SA, Aus,and Eng

  • SN Qazi on August 28, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Pakistan,s main disadvantage will come from the invlusion of Kamran Almal . For the title of world,s worst wicket keeper he has no competition . Another , long non performer is Shoaib Malik . At International level he has not performed in the last three years. Imran Nazir,s techniques totally flawed . He will have award time . The PCB is failing in grooming and develingnew talent .

  • Ashfaq on August 28, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    So where is the people who were against misbha ? Misbha is the perfect cricketer for the lead the team . Now we just need some good batsmen.

  • Muhammad Farhan Jamshed on August 28, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    every thing is f9 but pakistan team needs specialist middle order batsman Muhammad Yousuf in test side as well ODI's .........i think u all huyz r agree wid my opinion....

  • naman kiani on August 28, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    No wonder.Pakistan cricket is as unpredictable as we pakistanis are. (:

    Love Pakistan

  • Faheem Haider on August 28, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    I use to think that I have resonable expertise in reading sports articles in English; but this proved tougher. It seems more of a competition of jargons rather than sports article- could have been more fluent if it were a little simpler.

  • Abu.Ashhad on August 28, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    I never understand this ranking system but I think test ranking has measure on last four years (cricketing year starting from August)means current Pakistan position is counting from August 2008 to August 2012. Now lets see the four year performance;

    SriLanka in Pakistan 2008/09 drawn 0-0 (2) Pakistan in SriLanka 2009 SriLanka 2-0 (3) Pakistan in NewZealand 2009/10 drawn 1-1 (3) Pakistan in Australia 2009/10 Australia 3-0 (3) MCC Spirit of Cricket (Aus, Pak in England) 2010 drawn 1-1 (2) Pakistan in England 2010 England 3-1 (4) Pakistan v SouthAfrica 2010/11 drawn 0-0 (2) Pakistan in NewZealand 2010/11 Pakistan 1-0 (2) Pakistan in WestIndies 2011 drawn 1-1 (2) Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2011 Pakistan 1-0 (1) Pakistan v SriLanka 2011/12 Pakistan 1-0 (3) Pakistan in Bangladesh 2011/12 Pakistan 2-0 (2) Pakistan v England 2011/12 Pakistan 3-0 (3) Pakistan in SriLanka 2012 SriLanka 1-0 (3)

  • Dr. talha on August 28, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    Pakistan can never make it ot the top if they keep on playing players like Hafeez, Sami, Farhat, cheema etc. they are repeatd failures. Esp the first 3. They should get in Mohammmad Talha in the team asap. He is the quickest in Pak right now and will form a good combination with junaid khan and Gul. ia believe pakistan attack for the SA tour should be Gul, talha, Junaid and Ajmal. If any of the wickets assist spin you can replace any of the fast bowlers with Rehman.

  • Balakumar on August 27, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Good to see Pakistan at No.4 in the test rankings.The ICC rankings are a true measure of how a team performs home and away against other teams over a recent period of time.While I concede that Pakistan has not been able any games at home for a while now due to security reasons,the conditions and pitches in the United Arab Emirates do suit their spinners and batsmen.The true test of the Pakistani cricket team under Misbah lies during their tours to South Africa,England and Australia.India drew the test series against South Africa in 2010-2011 but were whitewashed in England and Australia.Hope Pakistan puts up a better performance on these away tours.It's sad that a young talented cricketer like Mohammad Aamir was led astray by some senior Pakistani cricketers like Salaman Butt and Mohammad Asif.Hope Aamir comes back strong after serving his 5 year ban.Hope Pakistan can unearth some good fast bowlers in the meantime.Good luck to the Pakistani cricket team... from an Indian :-).

  • misbah on August 27, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    pace allrounder need for pak. min. 2

  • Aziz Sangra on August 27, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Nice article, glad t c Pak at no. 4. I am still surprised about the current team selection. We are going no where in the department of fast bowling and we are spoiling available hope as well like Wahab, Junaid etc. Inclusion of Sami & Raza makes no sense in the squad especially when we already have 4 spin options like Ajmal, Afridi, Hafeez, Shuaib. And why the hell we are trying again and agian Arfat instead we should give a chance to Hammad. I may be off the article but we have to start team preparations right now for the SA tour.

  • KATHIR on August 27, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    @Aina, Lets wait until Aug 2013 to see India and Pakistan ranking. then we shall continue our war of words, Insha Allah.

  • Aina on August 27, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    @KATHIR: You are the one who wanted to go back to history because your recent tours to England and Australia are not better than ours. I have no problem remaining in the present. Has anyone EVER been able to predict what Pakistan will do next? The answer is in the SA tour of-course. I suppose a draw or tie will go in our favour and if we win, we will get lots of ranking points. As for losing, they are top and we are 4th, so it will hurt us less than winning will benefit us. Anyway, the answer is that we COULD end at #1 in the next August review if we beat SA. Srilanka won a test there, so it is not impossible. Only fools try to predict Pakistan's fortunes... The best we can do is list all possible scenarios.

  • Nabeel on August 27, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    No doubt after the amir and asif exit, pak team has worked like one unit and it needed really hard work to overcome that disaster and they did it slowly and quietly and that slow and quite hard work is showing in the team rankings which no one ever thought and realized. Truely said: slow and steady wins the race...keep it up team PAKISTAN.

  • myaqoob on August 27, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    @kathir: before the time how long took india to improve not his cricket but only batting-

  • KATHIR on August 27, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    @Dr.Talha/Aina, we are talking about team current rank postion. why are you all going 20 years back? WI and Australia were best teams at the time, Now what is rank of WI. please talk about our current teams Potential. When will your team rech 1st spot? Can you predict?

  • Aina on August 26, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    @ KATHIR: Both of us got whitewashed on our respective last tours to Australia. On our respective last tours to England, we managed one victory and you got whitewashed. But you want history. Well I don't know which stats you have been seeing. Pakistan is the third best team after England and Australia of ALL time, in terms of win/loss ratio in test matches. Similarly top 3 in the other formats I think, but you should check. I think I read we have the 2nd most number of ODI victories. By the way, our "home" series against Australia was in England, and we tied it. Next you'll be saying England is Pakistan Part2? you quote "But there is no chance for your team to reach 1st spot for the next 10 years." unquote. Sir it's best to avoid sweeping statements, especially regarding a team like Pakistan, and ten years is a long time. Our legendary cricket captain may become the country's captain, and sports is one of his first priorities...

  • Hafeez Syed (Kurnool AP India) on August 26, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Pak team always executes some spectacular results, they have tendency to loose matches in quite astonishing ways as well they provide some good results from scratch. Unpredictable team. I never tired to watch them playing all formats. Need of the hour is to think, groom some young fast bowlers and think beyond Gul, Amir (banned) and look for some new young fast bowlers, they have talent, I donno what Wasim, Waqar are doing, they're just watching sinking fast bowling in Pak cricket ????? come on guys rise to your potential.

  • Bis on August 26, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Noble words @Balaji Kumar. Like you I am an India fan who rejoices at the success of Pakistan and their thrilling and unpredictable brand of cricket. The interests of the sport must always be prioritised over the interests of any one country and it is in the interests of the sport for there to be a successful Pakistan team. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel and those who can't see beyond the territory of their own country are truly blind to the essential humanity and sociality of the environment they inhabit.

  • Dr. talha on August 26, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    @Kathir. To rank any team in cricket its always the last series, that is considered. If you keep on going back than there is no comparison between pak and ind. Pakistan has the 3rd best Win&loss ratio in the "history of the game" after Aus and Eng. And if u talk about winning in Eng, pak was the only team which beat eng in eng in the 1990's along with Aus. Not even the SAF and viv richards (1991) and richardsons (1995) windies did this.Pak defeated eng in 3 cosecutive test series in eng (1987, 1992 & and 1996). And this was the time when for almost 15 years india couldnt manage even a test match win outside india. So please dont get back in history, because if u do, u will see that ind has been one of the worst teams in cricket history and pak one of the best, and that will realy hurt u big time.

  • Aina on August 26, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    @Raj1975: Your hatred of Pakistan is making you forget that a low-ranked team gains big-time if it whitewashes the top-ranked team, and consistency does pay when added to the above, even if it is against "minnows". Btw, we drew against SA, and far as I know, draws do benefit the lower-ranked side. Lastly, the only UAE pitch that turns is Dubai, which is a good sporting test wicket that aids pacers too. As some journalist analysed during that series, Ajmal is more lethal on non-turning wickets than he is on rank turners. What was worrying every expert at the time was how difficult it is to force a result at the UAE. Even a reverse whitewash was unexpected.

  • KATHIR on August 26, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    @Faisal Hamraz/Dr.Talha. Every one talked about our last series against Eng and Aus. Please go through our records at Eng and Aus tours before 2011. We won the seriouse in Eng 1-0 and lost serious at Aut 2-1. But your team lost all the matches in Australia in your last tour. If you compare our records in last 3 years except this Eng & Aus series, our home and over seas records are 10 times better than your team. We stayed at no.1 position in ICC rating atleast 4 months, But there is no chance for your team to reach 1st spot for the next 10 years.

  • Dr. talha on August 26, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    @Kathir. Brother i agree that pakistan has played agsinst the weaker oppositions but What has india done when they have toured Aus & Eng. "Lost every single test match". Pakistan atleast managed a test match win on their last tour of Eng, while india lost 4-0. And remeber Pakistan last played Aus in Eng in 2010 and drew the series 1-1. India lost to aus 4-0.

  • Faisal Hamraz on August 25, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    Its enough to answer your argument Mr.Kathir , India's ascent to the top spot in December 2009 was also largely based on home wins, though they also had two creditable series wins in England (in 2007) and New Zealand (2009), But out of seven series wins between 2007 and 2009, four were achieved at home - against Pakistan, Australia, England and Sri Lanka - and one in Bangladesh. On the other hand, they lost series in Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka during this period.

  • Raj1975 on August 25, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    SUPRISING...All pakistan did was to beat England in spinner fredily pitches of UAE OR maybe Bangladesh. THATS IT...They haven't played SA in SA or Englang in Egland or Australia down under. They even lost TO Sri lanka who were without Murli & Malinga.Please explain how do you justify Pakistan being 4th. Hilarious.

  • KATHIR on August 25, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    THE REASON FOR 4TH RANK FOR PAK IN TEST CRCIKET:- THEY PLAYED TEST MATCHES IN THE PAST 1 1/2 YEARS AGAINST THE GIVEN BELOW TEAMS:- 1) WEST INDIES (CURRENTLY 7TH RANK) 2) ZIMBABWE ( CURRENTLY 9TH RANK) 3) SRI LANKA (CURRENTLY 6TH RANK) (IN UAE WHICH IS MORE FAVAORITE PLACE FOR PAK THAN THEIR OWN COUNTRY) 4) BANGLADESH(CURRENTLY 8TH RANK) 5) ENGLAND (CURRENLTY 2ND)) (IN UAE, THEY BEAT 3-0 IN TESTS, BUT LOST 0-4 IN ONE DAY) THEY HAVE NOT PLAYED AGAISNT ENGLAND IN ENGLAND, AUSTRALIA AND SOUTH AFRICA. DEAR ALL WHO POSTED COMMENTS, PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS AFTER PAK PLAYED AGAINST ENG, AUS AND SA AND THEN COMPARE YOUR BELOVED TEAM WITH INDIA.

  • imtiaz ahmad on August 25, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Wll i thnk there is no surprise at all seeing Pak at 4th position, they deserv it coz n the last 2 years Pak have played best test cricket they have only last 2 test n the same period nd has a high win ratio compared to other countries. I hope that Pak play SA nd defeating them wll b a great achievemnt.

  • Khawaja Fahad on August 25, 2012, 1:06 GMT

    Pakistan has been performing well for the past 2 years.The ranking system is flawed yes but it reflects consistency.Pakistan as for right now have no chance to win against South Africa at their home.If they wish to Draw the test series or aim higher they need to revamp the aquad and the playing ix.Firstly get Sami out of squad.Secondly bring Hammad Azam ,Wahab Riaz and Tanvir Ahmed in.Get Taufeeq out of the squad.For me the playing xi would be Azhar,Hafeez,Younis,U akmal,Misbah,H Azam,A Akmal,Ajmal,Junaid,Tanvir,A Shafeeq/Wahab Riaz My main reason for dropping Tuafeeq is that his technique is not suited for seaming/swinging wickets as was shown in Srilanka.Azhar Ali opens in First Class matches so would be ok.U akmal because he can counter attack and has the best technique in Pakistan team.Tanvir for being persistent with the ball and being ok with the bat.Wahab or shafiq seeing as your team plan.Hafeez would have to take the responsibility of being the second spinner

  • MoneySpeaks on August 24, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    A lucky break Pakistan got in UAE was 1) Ajmal was in form of his life and England cant play even U-19 spinners.2) However as luck would turn out Eng had just been crowned no 1 so beating them obviously gave Pakistan a lot more points than they would have normally got if Eng was no 1. Now England cant win anywhere except in England and maybe perhaps Australia,so the series bieng played in UAE was a lucky lottery for Pakistan . Anyway I dont see Pakistani climbing to no 3 or 2 given the nature of series for different teams over next one year. It would be lucky if they maintained no 4 as well becos India and WI are more likely to climb up the ratings soon.

  • Tahir_Anjum on August 24, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    A well written article Kamran Bhai, Pakistan is doing great despite the mismanagement of PCB and no home advantage. Misbah is leading them very good. The likes of Azhar, Asad and Junaid showed that they can lead Pakistan in international cricket. SA Series will determine their character as a unit.. wish them best of luck.When Pak loses I can't sleep that night.. to @ Indian and Pakistanis please respect each other enjoy the game Indian has upper hand in batting and we (Pak) in bowling..So plz do respect have respect.. plx publish

  • Rahul on August 24, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Well its really pleasant to watch Pak improving its cricket and coming ahead of its obstacles. I would like to point out 2 main points over here: 1. Do not drive for a comparison, its an article for appreciating Pak's achievements - lets concentrate only on that.

    2. Do not present your cheap by having a go at each other. Gosetpak, Deep, and some other users are interested in only taking digs at each other which isn't sportsmanship at all.

    Cricket community is a very small one, let us be united irrespective of results. Long Live Cricket. All the Best Pakistan. From an Indian Cricket Fan.

  • Indian on August 24, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    Pak will never come on No 1 Test /T20/1DAY Ranking

  • Tarik on August 24, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    Pakistan played all their matches @UAE(2nd home to pak), i.e., with same kind of picthes & crowd support, etc etc. Even they lost in sub-contintent in Sri Lanka, forget about playing in australia,SA,Uk. If they would, then this blog post wont even up, coz its simple, they won't even figure in top 7 also. Why this big hush here??(as if @rank 1(which can't even achieve in near distant)). Anyway this unpredictable team will soon out of top 5. Talking about talent, which lost 12(not 2,4 or 5..but 12) consecutive matches to aussie.., atleast you people have chance to talk about @4. All Asian players are naturally talented(but prob is.. not in all 3 departments at same time)

  • Shaukatullah Mohamadullah on August 24, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Pakistani cricketers should pray more to ALLAH. IT IS BY ALLAH'S GRACE that pakistan is now finally rank above india and hopefully they will stay there. pakistan has the RICHEST TALENT in AFRIDI, MOHAMMAD SAMI,MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ,MOHAMMAED ZALEEL, MOHAMMAD TULLAH, and even tho this RICH TALENT lost 12 consecutive matches to australia (including 3 straight 3-0 defeats), they will rule the world INSHALLAH. we now make dua for england to beat india later this year otherwise india wll once again sit on top of dil dil pakistan in the evil ICC rankings.

  • sobia on August 24, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    I fail to see the connection between the reasons for ranking fourth in the world based on objective performance and the somewhat controversial involvement of individuals in some sort of corrupt/illegal activities. If we take an objective look at any or all teams what do we see? rise and fall of teams with time, what about the West Indies team ? It used to be the tower of power in batting and balling about 20-25 years ago and where is it now? what about India? soon after winning the world cup they lost so badly! We can go on and on, this is the story of life in general, the writer got carried away by a singular focus and some deep emotional attachments.

  • Ram on August 24, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    A well written article as always from Mr.Kamran abbasi. I believe that the rankings are a pretty unbiased reflection of the level of success attained by any team during a time period, and obviously change based on the results. But it is really funny to see all the people who were criticizing the rankings just last year, but now seem very happy that pakistan is rated fourth. I think it is pathetic that even a fourth ranking is being celebrated. Even a small thing is magnified ....'pakistan did it in spite of being a pariah' ....Pakistan is not a victim, but a true example of the what happens when stupid, egoistic, inefficient and politically connected administrators, and corrupt, greedy, unethical sportsmen come together.

  • Desihungama on August 24, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    And then you say Pakistan and India are not conjoined twins. Even in rankings they can't seem to shed each other off. Great going Pakistan. Keep it up and let's beat South Africa to get that top spot.

  • Rahul Taneja on August 23, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    In my formative years Indian & Pakistani Cricketers were always the ones I idolised..as I grew older I realised that Pakistan always had the upper hand because of their bowling attack..the team that can take 20 wickets wins Test matches consistently..who can forget Sarfraz Nawaz ( the father of reverse swing)Imran,Sikander Bakht,Wasim, Waqar, Aaquib Javed, Abdul Qadir, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq( the father of the Doosra) and the list goes on...India never had the bowling strength..well done Pakistan..it is a well deserved ranking..here's hoping it gets better!!

  • Moody on August 23, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    pak team will be boosted if Hammad Azam is selected in test and Odi's. he is such a natural player [averaging 494.00 in 2010 u-19 WC]. plz pak get rid of Mr.Inconsistents Hazeez & Umar Akmal, both are pathetic batesmen and get hammad azam and babar azam in.

  • Aftab Qureshi on August 23, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    I am pleased that Pakistan is perched at No. 4 in test rankings. But I am also conscious that this has been possible because of elimination of more than 3 years old test matches from the arithmetic. Also, Pakistan played fewer matches than other teams, and hence may have avoided posssible defeats in 2009 when the team and its cricket were not in a good shape. But going forward, all the very best Pakistan!

  • Raj on August 23, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    India,pal no match, india100/ pak10 ,all the best india

  • Talha on August 23, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    Nice article..you are a true patriot and admirer..but being realistic and 'frightened', I dont really see this ranking to be maintained due to a few reasons which are that we lack the traditional pakistani pace, we lack a fighting and never giving up mindset, soon misbah would retire and leave this team at the mercy of a new captain who is unknown, the super star of pakistan's spin dept. (ajmal) is also set to retire after a few years..we dont see yonung talent unearthed and they are called up from the scrap after they have wasted a few years..just see how the average age of pakistan team has risen..there are so many players who are making come backs in the team..a freind truly mentioned that foreign coaches deprive us of our fighting spirit which mohsin had revived..with all of this pathetic state..maintaining a good ranking would be a miracle..goog luck team green..our prayers with you..pakistan zindabad!!!

  • shahbaz shaikh on August 23, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    pakistani team always has ability to beat any team any where in any condition across the world, only thing is that they should avoid groupism and polytics. like india has got a good platfrom ipl series ,so there will be plethora of talent in india where as in pakistan pitches nobody is ready to play, so board is not earning money and in past pak lost certain good player because of polytics like mohd yususf abdulrazzaq imran nazir and they lost mohd amir ,i would like to mention here pak should not worry about salman butt and mohd asif ,they were deserved for that, only thing aamir should be in team after giving some liniency.its high time pak should give oportunity to sadaf husain talaha ,imran nazir abdulrazzaq hamad azam .then they will be able to beat south africa in south africa and australia in australia

  • Chris on August 23, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Caveat: I love watching the Pakistan cricket team. While they are not my national team, I always hope that to see them do well. This is not sour grapes about Pakistan, by any means.

    Now, the point I want to make is that sitting in fourth on the rankings is not "an immense achievement". It's just a consequence of numerical fluke. The worst outcome of instituting these rankings is the fixation on where each team sits. A fixation which, if the answer is not obvious without a table to guide you, is entirely meaningless.

    Pakistan should be proud of the test results that they have obtained. Not the number next to their name. Whitewashing England was a great achievement not because of the ranking points associated with it, but rather because they whitewashed a traditional rival, when said rival was playing well.

    Focus on results. Not numbers.

  • Shahid on August 23, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Dear Kamran, I would like to raise an important issue through your blog. In the past when we were hosting international teams in Pakistan, our young talent always had a match or two to get exposure to higher ranks and making their cases for selction while playing practice matches aginst the visiting teams. Now that we do not have those opportunities, PCB should have been arranging a lot of A-tours. I think, even ICC could have been mindful of this need just as other boards should have helped in providing some extra A-matches to us. But the PCB has been incompetent in this area. Firstly there are no A-tours and they arrange some then it is only Zimbabwe, SL and Bangladesh who have been on cards. I think PCB needs to address this issue and send some more A-tours to Australia, England and SA. At least two A-series a year to these destinations are must for the developement of our talent in these hard times.

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 23, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    The key to Pakistan's rise in the rankings has been consistency. For all the criticism that has been thrown on Misbah, he has managed to unite the team and infuse an element of solidity in the batting. That he's managed it despite the turbulence in Pakistan cricket and in Pakistani society as a whole speaks volumes of his brilliance as a leader. However, the real test will come when Pakistan tours Australia/ England/ South Africa.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 23, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    PCB needs to introduce young talent in to the team instead of bring back those who have been tried a several times over a decade. Faisal played 26 matches with an average of 26 but still finds place in the team, everyone knows Sami and the disappoints he has given us over a decade. Why not try players like Usman Sallahudin, Babir Azzam and Haris Sohail in the batting order and Zia-ul-Haq & Talha in bowling. Wahab Riaz and Zia both bowl at 140. I will prefer Zia-ul-Haq as he is only 18 with a lot of potential to add a yard or two to his speed while he grows in age. The real deal with Zia is that he is able to swing the ball both ways. Wahab, Zia and Talha are my men to accompny Junaid and Gul to SA. These players should have been tried in ODIs prior to SA tour.

  • fahim on August 23, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    pakistan always been an unpredictable thats what makes them one of the most exciting teams in the world,i admire the way pakistan has played in last two years since spot fixing scandal broke out lost three world class players like amir,asif and butt becoz of some biased people,how can you ban a kid like amir who is for me the best left arm fast bolwer for his age infact he was way ahead of wasim akram for his age.inspite of going through some difficult times see how pakistan has played they thrashed england,3-0,newzeland,2-0(away)srilanka1-0)aus(1-1)sa(1-1)world cup(semifinalist)world ttwenties(runners up,winners,semifinalist)of all the asian teams pakistan has the best record in south africa,they have two drawn series in southafrica.i just got the feeling that south africans are in for an surprise,i am sure that pakistan will create history in sa beoz of the talent of our current batting like they are technically sound when you compare it to the previous pakistan batting line ups.

  • Zahidsaltin on August 23, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    @Deep, you asked why when India was #1, pakistanies didn't believe in this ranking system and how they admire their team now when its 4th to india's 5th. Mr. deep, this ranking still is as much flawed as it always was. It only tells a teams historical achievements and not the currunt strength and the periode it covers is too long to give any indication unless the no. one is a dominating force like the great Australian team. What Mr. Abbasi is trying to tell here has another dimention to it. Both india and England had bulk of their points earned on their home soil but in Pakistan's case they do not have any home matches at all. Consider India not having home games and you will find them even lower than the currunt standing. Currunt pakistani team has lost two world best bowlers and the advantage of playing at home but even than the recent SL series was only the first which they lost in last 2 years.

  • Hassaan on August 23, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    @Deep .. India should stop doing 2 things a)Crying, b)Playing against Sri Lanka. India became #1 by playing at home .. Pakistan reached #4 by playing away from home.

    Agreed with sK, Imran Naqvi, Adam, Sinhaya, Aina, getsetgopk and Ibrar Ali

  • banglafan on August 23, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    4th place is a fair assessnment. PAk and India share 4th and 5th places, which is ok. Pak is definitely better than NZ SL or WI at the moment. Credit goes to Misbah for his no-nonsense leadership and consistent form. All calls for his retirement should be strongly ignored. As for fast bowling, pl dont take Sami again !

  • milin on August 23, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    The genuinity and correctness of very same rankings was riducled and made fun of by Pakistani fans when India was no 1 and Pakistan was 6 or 7 or perhaps lower. Now same rankings are genuine and correct. Reminds me of 2007 when India won T20 Worldcup , it was just a useless T20 format cup for most Pakisyani fans. Come 2009 it became the cup to cherish . Very recently the U-19 Worldcup was the cupto get till Pakistan met India in QF and now is the tournament even on for Pakistani fans cos the hordes of comments from till QF and no comment whatsoever ;) says a story.

  • Majid Hassan Butt on August 23, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    A very well written article.

    A silent Pakistani team with visible rudders is a pleasant sight. I must say that Misbah has added a lot of character to the team. His presence is a soothing factor for the batting unit which had always been miserable since the exit of the greats like Javed Miandad. I have never seen Pakistan batting as consistently as they do today. I wish this batting side could have bowlers like Wasim and Waqar. Having said that, there are still bowlers who are looking really impressive. Junaid Khan is averaging around 26 on dead batting friendly pitches. Next few months would be important for his career. Amir would be back anyways. Pakistan just needs to stick to Misbah for as long as they can.

  • Abdullah Shaikh on August 23, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    Great article dear Kamran Abbasi. You have touched upon some of the most important issues of Pakistan cricket. Perhaps the only issue you could deal in much greater depth is the Pakistani fast bowling. For instance how long do you think Pakistan can afford to tolerate Umar Gul ? How long do you think Pakistan can afford to ignore younger talent like Mohd.Talha, Sadaf Hussain & Rahat Ali ? These guys have shown such phenomenal performances at the local level. What else must they do to get noticed? If you see, even Junaid Khan did not get a clean and fair opportunity over the last 18 months. Junaid & Cheema have been alternated against each-other for no fault of theirs. While Gul has enjoyed an assured place in the team.

  • mr hamilton on August 23, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    It is high high time pakistan unearthed a decent fast bowler. Asif and Aamer were the last 2 and the old pattern was of one being found every 3-4 years. Right now I would go with the following 11 in South Africa, Hafeez,Taufeeq,Azhar,Younis, Misbah,Shafiq,U Akmal,Saeed Ajmal,Sami,Junaid,Cheema. I know people will pooh pooh that in ten years sami has a terrible average. But india did very well in SA 2 years ago with a worse bowling attack. Sami can do it all except take wickets and i think the pressure he creates will enable the faster Khan and Cheema to take wickets. Cheema did well in Zimbabwe.Gul has lost his way totally and since wahab riaz isnt picked i go with that 11 with Abdul rahman 12thman.

  • sultan on August 23, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Expect the unexpected from this side.l believe this side has what it takes to be the number one test side.Discipline hard work and good dressing room envirment is required.

  • Umair on August 23, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    If and Only if we get Aamir back I can undoubtedly say that Pakistan has a very very good chance against South Africa.

  • Imran Naqvi on August 23, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Pakistans Batting is not weak linkest here.. infact this test side has one of the most responsible and talented batting line up. Pakistan,s issue is fast bowling and fast bowling allrounder in test side. kamran in test squad can boost batting further. Umer akmal and nasir jamshed should be a part of test squad.

  • Dr. Hafeez on August 23, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Asalam o alaikum to all... And still people complain of misbah being slow in all aspects of cricket???? The word CONSISTENCY was not there in the dictionary of pakistan cricket, and Misbah somehow has entered this word into it... With brilliant bowling attack and good batting lineup in past, pakistan never had same CONSISTENT record in test cricket than this era.. Surely, they badly need fast bowlers, a classy leg spinner, few quality batsman, and a good wicketkeeper batsman, but i am happy for what they have achieved with very limited resources.. Frankly speaking, I also think that they will lose to south africa easily, but still enjoying the present feat. Long Live Pakistan

  • naheem on August 23, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    Nice article....pak real performance will b judged in SA tour b/c thier fast pitches will determine our batsman quality.i think umar akmal is good choice for test team in SA TOUR B/C HIS performance on fast tracks is much better then dead pitches just like eng NZ and aus pitches.comeback to SA Tour honsetly perhaps it is misbah last tour as test player...

  • Ibrar Ali on August 23, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    Honestly, i am not expecting any test win by Pakistan in South Africa. There may be a win or two in UAE/Dubai against Australia though.

  • getsetgopk on August 23, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    @george: I'll tell you why people never get tired of watching Pak cricket, its because over the years Pak has blessed cricket with players like Imran Khan, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Saqlain, Miandad, Majid Khan, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Abdul Qadir, Afridi, Inzi, Saeed Ajmal, Saeed Anwar, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, (Mohammad Asif), (Mohammad Amir), Hanif Mohammad, Moin Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and many more, mix that with the usual infighting and incompetent cricket administration and you get everything you can imagine. In that group there you have the best left arm fast bowler the game of cricket has ever seen, the greatest captain of all time, worlds fastest bowler ever, the pioneer of a new delivery, the world greatest exponents of swing bowling both conventional and reverse swing, Pak has the 3rd highest Win/Loss ratio in test cricket after Aus and Eng and 2nd only to Aus in the overall number of ODI wins. Pak for its resources has done more than enough and I am mighty proud of that!

  • Ghinva Raza on August 23, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    @ George: its not that i am complaining,but that's really sweet of you.We also like England obviously when not playing against Greens..

  • Ghinva Raza on August 23, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    Mr.Kamran Abbasi,your articles are always a treat to read..not even me it took everybody by surprise as pakistan took a 4th place in test rankingg...We are soo proud of you Green shirtss,,keep up with it,plzzz,(fingers crossed.) Thanks again Mr.Kamran

  • Wasim on August 23, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Clearly the test cricket world is now divided by the class of talent, we have the category A teams like Eng, AUS, RSA Pak, SL, etc. and category B teams like WI, NZ, Ind, BD, Zim, etc.

    There should be more cricket among the category A teams, lets call them major teams and also more cricket among the minnows of category B, otherwise there will be no competetive cricket and we will have results like Eng beating Ind 4-0 and Australia beating them with the same margin of 4-0. It gets boring after a while. Now the minnow series of Ind and NZ will be a competetive one like the major's upcoming series of SA and Pak.

  • Aina on August 23, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Zia ul Haq looks like a good bowler and Ehsaan Adil is fast enough for cricinfo to describe him as "rf" instead of "rfm". The selectors have something against Sadaf Hussain. @Hanif: We are talking of test cricket here. Afridi quit after the mach against Australia at Lords. Imran Khan himself called him and tried to dissuade him but to no avail. Misbah has lost one test match in two years, and Srilanka at home aren't traditionally the easiest of rivals. @Deep: I can say this honestly as a Pakistani, that I never doubted the rankings, and I have never met anyone who did. @Karim: I agree. I'm not at all a fan of Mohsin, but I am totally against foreign coaches. They seem to sap our fighting spirit. Not to mention that Mohsin was replaced after a whitewash of the then #1 side. Not fair at all. @george: Life with Pakistan can be a lot of things, but "boring" is never one of them, even if it is Misbah's supposedly dull team.

  • Nafees N. on August 23, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Pakistan always had the talent, but it is the people at the helm of affairs, who make the difference. Change from Mr Butt to ZA has brought about the change in Pakistan Cricket's fortunes.

  • munawar on August 23, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    Who is this kamran abbasi who says india is a strongest team .what kind of wrighter u r ,u dont know what is the diffirence in playing at home and playing away?.india never won any teame when he is away from home other than Zimbabway and New Zealand.And on the other hand pakistani Tigers playing every single game out side of Pakistan and this writer does not know this big diffirence.maybe he is homeless and does not know what does mean Home.

  • Deepak on August 23, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    Pakistan team required fast blower as wasim, waqar, Aqib, Asif and Ameer they have talent but coach should be taken care of blower and batting order they have drop imran nazir one should play long innings opener or one down

  • Navin Shetty on August 23, 2012, 5:32 GMT

    As an Indian fan I always felt that team Aus & SA if were Numero Uno then it would really not create this banter as no one in his right mind would want to challenge their position as they are one all round team good in all the three departments of the game and in some departments leave the other's far behind. India reaching the No 1 spot was more of good fortune and now Pakistan finding themselves in No 4 spot may not be the right guage as they have not had the opportunity to play much and hence not put to the sword. At best all I can say is the the previous No 1 spot that India enjoyed and the current No 4 spot which Pakistan enjoys can be best described as an "out of turn orgasm"

  • Mian Imran on August 23, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    its not a surprise. Pakistan will much better now. young blood is ready to inject. that will make fielding much better and educated young player can display themselves better.

  • pathfinder on August 23, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    i,e better kamran saahab ,perfect , but now i am worried ,due to the lack of fast and furious fast bowlers, which was hallmark of pakistan , is their any fast bowler in any stage ,whether in domestic or in U19 , which is fastand fast , how much i am enjoying the ckt of this team , can,t be explain in words , but totaly exciting team ,.. from J & K,..

  • Ashraf nawaz on August 23, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    I think pakistan is now becoming a good cricket team .misbah is doing excellent as a captain and as a far as fourth test ranking is concerned,inshallah pak will be on no.#1.

  • george on August 23, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    i am an england fan...but i dont know why i never get tired of watching pakistan cricket..there is always something to laugh about, to cheer and to worry...but lets not worry about pakistan cricket.. let us just enjoy the spectacle

  • rana tiki tafi wala on August 23, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    Hi just enjoy the paki cricket but most team members play for them self like shahid should let him go plus he want be captain you watch him next time he

  • khan z on August 23, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    I have serious concern about writer's negative approach. What cricket has to do with poor or rich? Ether United States us the richest country on the planet, do they have a best cricket team? He doesn't even realize that we are 190 millions people. We should have # 1 place in all formats. I guess, he doesn't have a vision for this team or a nation for that matter. And the funny part is that many folks are praising him instead of questioning his poor logic.

  • Sinhaya on August 23, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    Pakistan has a great test record overall. What better can you expect from any team other than winning the 2nd ever test they played which was in 1952, against India in Lucknow and winning it by an innings! Pakistan also have a great test record against England in England too. Of course Pakistan should have drawn the test series against Sri Lanka 1-1 as rain only saved us in the 2nd test in Colombo. Pakistan's poor recent test record against Australia is mainly cos Aussies have not toured Pakistan at all since 1998. Had they toured there, I am sure Aussies would have lost a few tests to Pakistan.

  • adam on August 23, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    Deep, now india clean swept by england & australia - you indians should thank your lucky stars that you are rated 5th best test side. Should be very flattered! Since losing to England 3-1 away in 2010 pak has lost only once going down 1-0 away to SriLanka & your india has 4-0 4-0 losses to ENG and AUS.U look like a tool having a go at pak fans given these facts!

  • Imran Naqvi on August 23, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    Pakistan Must tackle their fast bowling department before series in SA. I think Tanvir Ahamd was quite good when he bowled last time against SA. Biggest gap is not just aamir and asif but Razzaq. Pakistan is unable to find a good fast bowling allrounder.

  • Karim on August 22, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    Fourth place in the Test rankings is a fair reflection of what the team has done in the last couple of years but somewhat 'tarnished' by the recent result of the series in SL. Can't help but sense that if the PCB had left well alone the Misbah-Mohsin combination then success would have continued. Instead, they have done what they always do and upset the apple cart. The old addage 'if it ain't broke....' applies and the advent of the new coach and his assistant has somehow resulted in the team reverting to bad old ways and showing a lack of mental toughness in either defending totals or chasing them.

  • Meety on August 22, 2012, 23:38 GMT

    Loved the style Kamran, well written. I actually am NOT surprised that Pakistan is 4th. Apart from losing the Test series in SL, (no great shame), Pakistan since the drawn UAE series v Sth Africa, have been very good. Pakistan's win/loss ratio since January 2011 is 4.5, which is way ahead of the next best Oz & Safrica on 3.0. Pakistan is the form side in Test cricket, even allowing for the SL tour.

  • R Khan on August 22, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    Pakistani cricket is unpredictable and that is what makes it exciting. There is no shortage of talent. They flounder opportunities when it seems like a walk in the park and yet they achieve success when a loss is a foregone conclusion or when every one has written them off. The team of Misbah has, however, has become a little dull because it has become more predictable. When it wins it wins with solid performance and when it loses it is still a respectable loss. The question is - do you want dull or exciting cricket? It may be dull right now but Misbah has provided stability to the team that was torn apart but who knows what comes next. People are still waiting for a surprise, but considering Pakistan's cricket they may not have to wait for a long time - however, I sincerely hope their expectations never materialize.

  • sK on August 22, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    Winning is SA is impossible with our current bowling attack... we will be smacked 3-0 (if its a 3 test series of course) :P

  • Haroon on August 22, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing. No doubt real test would be South Africa. As always batting is the weak link. Go Pakistan GO.

  • owais on August 22, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    Nice article. Yes, even with so many problems, Pak cricket is alive and well. I'm "realistically" dreaming that Pak cricket will improve further in next 1-2 years, after the forthcoming elections and after US forces left our western border. Security situation should improve and who knows bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan will resume, with regular, (but not too frequently) visit of Indian team to Pak. There is no stronger tonic for Pak ( and Indian ) cricket than regular India-Pak matches.

  • Adil on August 22, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    Awesome Kamran..... every words feels like it is written directly from heart. I hope Pakistan becomes consistently competitive in world cricket. And youa re so right about the fact that all the supposedly un-biased and supposedly knowledgable commentators just skip Pakistan when they talk about world ranking. When Swann was no. 1 spinner, everybody was talking about the quality of spinners and how good he was, since Ajmal took over, this topic is never brought up in any discussion.

  • Usamah Khan on August 22, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    Pakistan Cricket Team can't be supported by the weak! They are so emotionally draining. Great article Kamran Saab! Shabash Boys.

  • Siham on August 22, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    "Pakistan cricket has these cycles of rise and fall, of wounding and healing, of glory and ruin, although without periodicity or logic." This is the only thing that makes Pakistan cricket unique. As much as I'd like Pakistan to be number 1 in all formats, Pakistan is much cooler like this, sometimes miraculous wins and other times crazy defeats. (as long as it's always improving overall).

  • Amir Shakir on August 22, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Very good article by Kamran again. I guess, no one can argue the talent and fighting spirit of Pakistan teams and their performance under difficult circumstances outside their home conditions. I am sure they will even move up to number one or two if someone only rate the teams based on their performance outside their own country. This is essentially the case as no country is visiting them for some number of years and yet they are able to show their resilience against the best teams of the world.

  • Imran Kidwai on August 22, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Masterpiece by Kamran Abbassi, splendid thought process 'next Usain Bolt might even begin to pay attention to the flickering star of Pakistan cricket'..also missing that dream line-up of sensational quicks and world class spinners who used to be trademark of pak cricket!!!!!

  • Balaji Kumar on August 22, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    As an Indian supporter, I am happy for the successes enjoyed by Team Pakistan. It doesn't matter to a true cricket lover which country sits at what rank in the standings. It's the quality and consistency of the cricket that's played that should matter in the end. Pakistan have been playing some good cricket the last year and half. They beat some very good teams on the way. It's easy to say they played all their cricket in the UAE which is similar to Pakistani conditions. I don't buy into that. The UAE tracks are sporty wickets. It's just that Pakistan were better. As an Indian, I have always admired Pakistani bowling over the years. India should learn a thing or two about bowling from Pakistanis. I wish good luck to Pakistan in the future.

  • Tanny on August 22, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Kamran, thanks for the article. Maybe you would like to write another one about 30 years ago, about Imran's best year: 1982-83, 88 wickets in 13 matches? I think you watched at least one of the games, if I remember right from another article of yours? It'd be nice to have a write-up about that year. Thanks again.

  • Imran Naqvi on August 22, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    India might be richest in cricket money NOW but Pakistan has been always richest in Talent. No other cricket nation can servive and produce in kind of circumstances pakistan do. I beleive pakistan has been always among the best 4 teams in the world.

  • Deep on August 22, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    When India was #1 and Pak was #7, the ICC rankings were repeatedly questioned by Pakistanis. Now that Pak is # 4 and India # 5, the same rankings will get respect from Pak fans ;-)

  • Hanif on August 22, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    Despite all the scuffles, Misbah and his men have performed admirably, and truly deserve the accolades. Here, one mustn't forget the leadership role played by Afridi as he was the first man to really conjure up wins right in the aftermath of THAT black Aug'10, although he was quite unceremoniously dethroned. Anyway, winning is one thing, and winning consistently, that too away from home, is a different story which is where we have succeeded. Our true mettle would be tested in South Africa with almost NO world class fast bowler around... But much to cherish about... Zindabaad Pakistan

  • baigi on August 22, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    long live Pakistan team.

  • abdul salam on August 22, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    my respected pakistani cricket team plz have hammad azam to play in one down position he is the jack kallus of pakistan me watched his talent but he is not used properly at all whenever he comes either we had already lost the match or either 2 balls are left and there should be one brilliant wicket taking fast bowler in team we cannot rely on spinners and our batting is collapsing because we are not attacking as we lose wickets initially we should have hammad azam like talent in our team he can play every game .....thank you hope pcb chief mr zaka and selecter iqbal qasim and captain should replace yasir arafat in place of hammad azam for t20 and he should play at one down position

  • abdul salam on August 22, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    my respected pakistani cricket team plz have hammad azam to play in one down position he is the jack kallus of pakistan me watched his talent but he is not used properly at all whenever he comes either we had already lost the match or either 2 balls are left and there should be one brilliant wicket taking fast bowler in team we cannot rely on spinners and our batting is collapsing because we are not attacking as we lose wickets initially we should have hammad azam like talent in our team he can play every game .....thank you hope pcb chief mr zaka and selecter iqbal qasim and captain should replace yasir arafat in place of hammad azam for t20 and he should play at one down position

  • Fahiii on August 22, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Wana see Pak at # 1 but without immense attack of fast bowling's not possible practically. When Aamir's back then it might be possible if ajmal remains there fit enough.

  • abdul salam on August 22, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    my respected pakistani cricket team plz have hammad azam to play in one down position he is the jack kallus of pakistan me watched his talent but he is not used properly at all whenever he comes either we had already lost the match or either 2 balls are left and there should be one brilliant wicket taking fast bowler in team we cannot rely on spinners and our batting is collapsing because we are not attacking as we lose wickets initially we should have hammad azam like talent in our team he can play every game .....thank you hope pcb chief mr zaka and selecter iqbal qasim and captain should replace yasir arafat in place of hammad azam for t20 and he should play at one down position

  • Mohsin on August 22, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    Good article Kamran Bhai - honestly, I didnt realize until now that Pakistan has reached 4th position. Honestly, there has been some good performance in the recent past by our team and deserved to be there..

  • Ibrahim on August 22, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    A series win in SA is what Pakistan needs. IMO , we have the batsmen in azhar , asad , umar,younis and misbah. What we need is a good bowler who can support junaid khan. Gul has lost his touch and sami is not good enough. Spinners won't be that big of a threat over there so we really need to unearth a good genuine fast bowler. We do have talha and sadaf but for some strange reason the selectors have ignored them completely. Ajmal for the first time in 2 years won't be the key bowler and that will pose some big problems for us. And i believe that hammaad azam can play a great role over there because he has the technique and his medium pace just might be the right pace for those seaming green wickets. I hope that we can push on from here to greater heights because we have the quality.

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  • Ibrahim on August 22, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    A series win in SA is what Pakistan needs. IMO , we have the batsmen in azhar , asad , umar,younis and misbah. What we need is a good bowler who can support junaid khan. Gul has lost his touch and sami is not good enough. Spinners won't be that big of a threat over there so we really need to unearth a good genuine fast bowler. We do have talha and sadaf but for some strange reason the selectors have ignored them completely. Ajmal for the first time in 2 years won't be the key bowler and that will pose some big problems for us. And i believe that hammaad azam can play a great role over there because he has the technique and his medium pace just might be the right pace for those seaming green wickets. I hope that we can push on from here to greater heights because we have the quality.

  • Mohsin on August 22, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    Good article Kamran Bhai - honestly, I didnt realize until now that Pakistan has reached 4th position. Honestly, there has been some good performance in the recent past by our team and deserved to be there..

  • abdul salam on August 22, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    my respected pakistani cricket team plz have hammad azam to play in one down position he is the jack kallus of pakistan me watched his talent but he is not used properly at all whenever he comes either we had already lost the match or either 2 balls are left and there should be one brilliant wicket taking fast bowler in team we cannot rely on spinners and our batting is collapsing because we are not attacking as we lose wickets initially we should have hammad azam like talent in our team he can play every game .....thank you hope pcb chief mr zaka and selecter iqbal qasim and captain should replace yasir arafat in place of hammad azam for t20 and he should play at one down position

  • Fahiii on August 22, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Wana see Pak at # 1 but without immense attack of fast bowling's not possible practically. When Aamir's back then it might be possible if ajmal remains there fit enough.

  • abdul salam on August 22, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    my respected pakistani cricket team plz have hammad azam to play in one down position he is the jack kallus of pakistan me watched his talent but he is not used properly at all whenever he comes either we had already lost the match or either 2 balls are left and there should be one brilliant wicket taking fast bowler in team we cannot rely on spinners and our batting is collapsing because we are not attacking as we lose wickets initially we should have hammad azam like talent in our team he can play every game .....thank you hope pcb chief mr zaka and selecter iqbal qasim and captain should replace yasir arafat in place of hammad azam for t20 and he should play at one down position

  • abdul salam on August 22, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    my respected pakistani cricket team plz have hammad azam to play in one down position he is the jack kallus of pakistan me watched his talent but he is not used properly at all whenever he comes either we had already lost the match or either 2 balls are left and there should be one brilliant wicket taking fast bowler in team we cannot rely on spinners and our batting is collapsing because we are not attacking as we lose wickets initially we should have hammad azam like talent in our team he can play every game .....thank you hope pcb chief mr zaka and selecter iqbal qasim and captain should replace yasir arafat in place of hammad azam for t20 and he should play at one down position

  • baigi on August 22, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    long live Pakistan team.

  • Hanif on August 22, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    Despite all the scuffles, Misbah and his men have performed admirably, and truly deserve the accolades. Here, one mustn't forget the leadership role played by Afridi as he was the first man to really conjure up wins right in the aftermath of THAT black Aug'10, although he was quite unceremoniously dethroned. Anyway, winning is one thing, and winning consistently, that too away from home, is a different story which is where we have succeeded. Our true mettle would be tested in South Africa with almost NO world class fast bowler around... But much to cherish about... Zindabaad Pakistan

  • Deep on August 22, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    When India was #1 and Pak was #7, the ICC rankings were repeatedly questioned by Pakistanis. Now that Pak is # 4 and India # 5, the same rankings will get respect from Pak fans ;-)

  • Imran Naqvi on August 22, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    India might be richest in cricket money NOW but Pakistan has been always richest in Talent. No other cricket nation can servive and produce in kind of circumstances pakistan do. I beleive pakistan has been always among the best 4 teams in the world.