ICC news August 22, 2016

Pakistan rise to No. 1 in Test rankings

ESPNcricinfo staff

Play 01:27
Pakistan's journey to the top

Pakistan have risen to No. 1 in the ICC's Test rankings for the first time. They took the top position from India, following India's washed out Test against West Indies in Trinidad.

Pakistan had moved to No. 2 on the table last week, after drawing the Test series in England 2-2 and after Australia were whitewashed 3-0 in Sri Lanka. At the same time, India had moved to No. 1 after beating West Indies in the St Lucia Test to go 2-0 up in their four-match series; they needed to win the final Test, in Trinidad, to hold on to No. 1, but the match was drawn after weather and outfield issues forced play to be abandoned over four days.

Last week was the second time in less than a year that Pakistan had moved to No. 2 on the rankings - the highest they had previously been since the current rankings system was put in place in 2003. They had featured at No. 2 for the first time in November 2015, after beating England 2-0 in the UAE.

Their rise to No. 1 was built on the back of a run of unbeaten Test series since August 2014, when they were down at No. 6. Apart from the successes against England, they had also beaten Sri Lanka 2-1 in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh 1-0 in Bangladesh, and whitewashed Australia 2-0 in the UAE. Against New Zealand in the UAE in November 2014, the series during which Phillip Hughes died in Sydney, they had drawn 1-1.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said he was "proud" to have his team at the top, but his focus remained on delivering consistently good performances going forward. "There is no greater feeling than to achieve the No. 1 ranking in the most traditional and purest format of the sport," Misbah said. "This is what cricketers play for and want to achieve in their careers. It is a reward for something we had planned as a group a few years ago and have worked extremely hard to achieve it.

"I want to compliment everyone who has been involved in the process, including all the players, the support personnel, the management, as well as our loyal fans and followers who remained committed to us and continued to back and support the side through the good and not-so-good days.

"For us, the No. 1 ranking is not a destination but part of a journey. Our long-term objective and strategy is 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 yesteryears."

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, much like former coach Waqar Younis, said credit for Pakistan's achievement should go to Misbah. "The ascension to the top of the ICC Test rankings culminates an incredible journey for Pakistan," Khan said. "This is a historic moment in our rich Test cricket history and the credit for this great achievement goes not only to this team but to all... coaches and support staff members who have represented Pakistan in recent years. Misbah-ul-Haq deserves special credit for his leadership through six crucial years."

The No. 1 rank has changed hands several times in 2016. In January, India took over from South Africa after South Africa were defeated 0-2 by England at home. In February, Australia climbed to No. 1 following their 2-0 win in New Zealand. They gave No. 1 back to India following their recent 0-3 loss in Sri Lanka, and then came India's handover to Pakistan.

The ICC's ranking system takes into account matches played over the previous four years, with the oldest matches in the cycle being dropped every May. For the current cycle, matches played from May 2013 to April 2015 carry 50% weightage, while matches played since then carry 100% weightage. In May 2017, matches played between May 2013 and April 2014 will be dropped from the calculations, and those between May 2015 and April 2016 will have their weightage reduced to 50%.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hamzas7506798 on August 28, 2016, 7:02 GMT

    congratulations Pakistan ! Number 1 yeah !

  • shshan7651763 on August 27, 2016, 15:10 GMT

    This is just awesome. I love Pakistan cricket. In fact, Pakistan is my second favorite team after Team India. I just wish the two nations would keep aside politics and fight it out on the field. #indvspak #peace #love #dienawazsharif

  • Rishantha on August 26, 2016, 15:18 GMT

    Really happy for pakistan team. Congrates. Sri lankan fan

  • Suryaputra on August 26, 2016, 6:16 GMT

    IBRAHIM_IRFAN: "July 2014 was when SL defeated us and we are at the end of August 2016 so yeah it has been well over 2 years since we last lost a test series" Nope, wrong again! August 18, 2014 was when Sri Lanka, the not so good team according to you, whitewashed Pakistan. This article is dated 22nd August, 2016; so no it has not been 'well over 2 years' since you lost a Test series. Do you even look at records before stating false facts?

    As for 'check the ICC Test Rankings to see where we are at the moment.' I know where Pakistan is in the rankings. At number one in Tests, with a thin one point margin that they gained thanks to multiple matches involving number 2, India, getting washed out and thanks to playing majority of the games in UAE and going only on away tours to minnows (according to you) like BD, Zimbabwe, and SL over the current ranking period.

    Your team's England series draw is indeed a very good achievement, as I have repeatedly said. But then that is it.

  • talha on August 26, 2016, 1:06 GMT

    @2ND_SLIP. Brother I hope your opinion is taken. But I feel Indians are waiting for Misbah and Younis to retire. They didn't play Pak for 10 long years (1989-1999) when Wasim & Waqar were at their devastating best. Then when they played in 99 they lost 2 tests in their own backyard. Then again they didn't play for next 5 years. From 2004 till 2007 they played 4 back to back series when Pak were at their weakest in the past 40 years. And now when Pak again has a good side India is again avoiding since last 9 years.

  • Blessing on August 25, 2016, 19:32 GMT

    BCCI and PCB can we have a Ind vs Pak 5 test series please! BCCI postpone the England series and invite Pakistan, it will gather more fan fair and will grab the attention of neutrals like me more than the Ashes. (You'll also make a lot of money out of it, so cash in like you did with the hastily organised Tendulkar farewell series lol).

  • Ibrahim on August 25, 2016, 19:24 GMT

    @DRIFTTURNANDBOUNCE... July 2014 was when SL defeated us and we are at the end of August 2016 so yeah it has been well over 2 years since we last lost a test series.. and if we are average then how did we draw 2-2 in England while Aus, Ind, and SL got pummeled last time they came to Eng.. in fact in 6 away tours against top teams, Ind have managed only 1 win whereas Aus are currently 0-9 in Asia since their last win in SC.. average teams don't stay unbeaten for over 2 years. And you say that since Pak lost a test in Zim, and got whitewashed in SL in 2014, where does it leave us?? Well mate check the ICC Test Rankings to see where we are at the moment.

  • Suryaputra on August 25, 2016, 19:05 GMT

    In my comment ON AUGUST 25, 2016, 18:41 GMT, it should be 7 AWAY series not 6. Sorry.

  • Suryaputra on August 25, 2016, 18:49 GMT

    IBRAHIM_IRFAN: Oh and since Sri Lanka (the not so top team according to you) whitewashed you in 2014, your claim 'Pak have not lost a test series in well over 2 years home and away' is also false. So yeah Pakistan are number one for the moment, I won't go reading too much into it. Barring this England tour, kudos to them on drawing it, they have been as average as all other test teams. Even at home, they were unable to win series against SA and NZ.

  • Suryaputra on August 25, 2016, 18:41 GMT

    IBRAHIM_IRFAN: "if I am not wrong over the past 3 years... SINCE 2013, India have played 3 HOME series, NOT 1.. Aus in 2013, WI in 2013 and SA in 2015" Yeah no, you're wrong again. Well partially wrong. Ranking cycle for period for 36 months runs May to May. Australia series in India got over before May 2013; doesn't count. You are right about WI in India in November 2013. Still it doesn't change the away streak of consecutive 17 matches. So over a period of three years; May 2013 onwards, 6 AWAY, 2 HOME series. 21 AWAY Tests, 6 HOME Tests. Pakistan hasn't done anything remotely close to these numbers.

    Since May 2013, the away tours Pakistan have gone on are Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka twice, Bangladesh, and England just now. In Zimbabwe you only DREW the series where you even lost a Test. Sri Lanka, who whitewashed you in 2014 BTW, and BD, according to your own words, 'are not top teams so they don't count'. Where does that leave you?

  • No featured comments at the moment.