'Victory will drive new generations to play cricket'
Pakistan's 3-0 whitewash of England has not come as a surprise to some of the country's ex-players and administrators. At the beginning of the series England were 26 rating points ahead of Pakistan in the ICC's Test rankings, but conditions in the UAE always made Pakistan favourites, according to former captain Rashid Latif.
"If our side was playing in Australia, England or South Africa my point of view may have been different but when it comes to UAE conditions we always had an upper hand," Latif told ESPNcricinfo. "However, whatever the case was, we have registered the finest victory in our history, and it will be remembered for long."
Zaka Ashraf, the PCB Chairman, said he had always been confident in Pakistan' capabilities, and now they had given the world notice of what they can achieve. "I never doubted the ability of the Pakistan cricket team," he said, "and the victory is a clear message to all cricket-playing nations that we have the capability to take on any cricket team in the world."
Latif said the significance of the win was such it would influence future generations of Pakistanis. "This series carries a unique importance as the circumstances surrounding Pakistan cricket in the past couple of years were not that pleasant," Latif said. "We are missing three or four major players but have still been able to form a decent team.
"The impact of this victory will drive new generations to play cricket instead of playing computer games. It will encourage more youth to play cricket and that is how talent in the country can remain alive.
"Followers of Pakistan cricket, who may have been dismayed at the notorious incident of the past, will again tune into Pakistan cricket. Our brand of cricket can once again become one of the most popular in the world."
England are still ranked No. 1 in Tests, but are now just 10 rating points ahead of Pakistan, who are still in fifth position. Pakistan have moved up from 99 to 108 rating points, but remain behind England, South Africa, Australia and India. Former selector Saleem Jaffar, though, said a high ranking could actually be a burden for a team.
"Realistically, ranking is an added pressure on a team," Jaffar said. "A top team can be judged on present form and the way Pakistan played is outstanding. A series victory is, naturally, a big boost to Pakistan cricket and stamps its authority on the cricketing world."
Ashraf said the victory over England should be treated as a stepping stone to even bigger achievements for Pakistan. "We should not get overjoyed over this Test victory because our journey isn't complete," he said. "Our aim is to build a consistent and stable team for the next World Cup and I have already told all the cricket experts to ensure it."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent