LAHORE: Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday received the ICC Test Championship mace for inspiring Pakistan to the top of the Test team rankings.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson presented the mace to Misbah at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
“It was one of the best days in my life - becoming number one. I would like to congratulate everyone. Every player that played, every coach and every selector … everyone who worked hard for this number one spot,” Misbah said.
“A captain or leader cannot do anything without resources.”
Misbah said playing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was tough for his side. “UAE conditions are familiar but aren’t like Pakistan.
“But players stood up to the task and performed well. The last series in England was the real test for this team and all the players performed out of their skins. We want to be number one for a longer period of time.”
Pakistan is only the fifth side after Australia, England, India and South Africa to top the Test rankings.
ICC chief executive Richardson congratulated the Pakistan team, saying he “always” enjoyed coming to Pakistan because of the passion for the game there.
“This is a remarkable achievement, given Pakistan has played all the series away from home. Congratulations to Misbah, Pakistan team and PCB on making it to number one,” he said.
Richardson also appreciated the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) efforts of reaching out to other cricketing nations to revive the sport in the country, which has been deprived of competitive international events since March 2009.
Pakistan’s international exile ended in May 2015 when Zimbabwe toured the country for two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals but that was never a surety of more tours.
“ICC is keen for everybody to be playing international cricket, especially in Pakistan,” Richardson said.
But at the same time, he was quick to add: “It’s very easy to convince me that international cricket can return to Pakistan but it’s up to the security to decide.”
Richardson termed Misbah’s captaincy as one of the main reasons for Pakistan to achieve number one position in Tests.
“We want Pakistan team to keep challenging itself for these achievements. Hopefully, we will pretty soon reach a scenario where teams will be visiting Pakistan again,” he said.
In an interview to icc-cricket.com, Misbah said, “There can’t be a better location to receive the ICC Test Championship mace than this ground where we last played a home Test seven years ago.”
“It is ironic for both the players as well as the fans that the journey to the number-one position has been outside Pakistan.
“The players have missed on the crowd support, while the spectators have been unable to watch live some magnificent team and individual performances.
“But I am confident that things will change and international cricket will soon return to Pakistan.”