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How Pakistan vaulted into upper-tier of Test rankings

Published Jul 20, 2012 04:26pm


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Pakistan’s cricket team surged to number four in the ICC Test rankings this week after the annual update – a move which currently establishes Pakistan as the best Asian Test side as India’s ranking has dwindled down to number five. Although the number four spot is not exceptional, but bearing in mind that the last time Pakistan were in the upper-tier of the Test rankings was five years ago (May 2007), it is Pakistan’s pièce de résistance. It has also fulfilled captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s promise to take Pakistan into the top four to play in the World Test Championship, which was then scheduled to take place in 2013, only to be moved to 2017.

The ICC rankings are updated in August every year ensuring that the latest performances of teams are taken into account. Since there was no Test series scheduled to end by August 1 or near it this year, the ICC made its annual update at the end of the Sri Lanka-Pakistan series which concluded on July 12.

The ICC Test rankings only consider performances of the past four years. Each year, after the annual update, the performance from four years ago is discarded from the rankings. (South Africa slipped down the rankings because their series victories in England and Australia four years ago were not considered). In the current case, all the performances from August 2008-2009 – the period in which Pakistan played only five Tests, did not win any and lost the series to Sri Lanka 2-0 – were not included.

The current rankings span over two periods of four years:

A)    2 years, from August 2009 to August 2011 – It has 50 per cent weightage in the rankings. B)    2 years, from August 2011 to August 2013 – It has 100 per cent weightage in the rankings.

Next year, in 2013, when the ICC will again update its rankings, the performances from August 2009 - 2010 will not be evaluated and therefore, Australia’s 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan in January 2010 will be excluded. Pakistan’s ranking could get a further boost after next year’s update but for that they must not run out of steam as they are set to play Tests against Zimbabwe in January, South Africa in February-March and West Indies in June-July.

This is not the first time that Pakistan has been given a boost in Test rankings. In July 2006, when Inzamam-ul-Haq was captain, Pakistan leapfrogged to number two, just behind Australia who were then number one. However, Pakistan’s stay at number two was fleeting. The very next month, in August 2006, Pakistan lost to England 3-0 and lost the number two slot. In the aftermath of that series, England replaced Pakistan as number two and the Ashes of that year, which started in November 2006, were contested between the top two Test teams.

Pakistan can improve their ranking further and climb up to number three as early as next month after the series between South Africa and England ends on August 20. England is currently number one with ratings of 122 while South Africa (number three, 113 ratings) is ahead of Pakistan (number four, 109 ratings) by a small margin. If England beat South Africa by a margin of 2-0 or better, it will see South Africa slip behind Pakistan and the latter rise up to number three – behind England and Australia (number two).

However, on a broader scope and with much optimism, Pakistan would want South Africa to beat England to become number 1 and would further want South Africa beat Australia in December this year. If all goes according to plan, then when Pakistan meet South Africa in February 2013, they will have the opportunity to beat the world number one Test side just like they did in UAE against England last winter. In the interim, Pakistan will hope that the outcome of the India-England series goes in their favour.


Mazher Arshad is a Cricket buff based in Islamabad who considers watching Cricket and giving insights of it as his foremost priority on social media.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (28) Closed

Guest Jul 20, 2012 04:11pm
I suggest all schools use ALL funds only for books and computers. Education is the way forward, not cricket.
Mian Ahmad Moosa Jul 20, 2012 04:02pm
current pakistan test team is contradicting with the general nature of pakistan nation which is a bit emotional & aggressive ,,,, calm cool solid & patient,,,,, all the credit goes to MISBAH UL HAQ,,,,, even our premier fast bowler umar gul is not too much aggressive,,,,, & thats pakistan needs,,,, in past they were loaded with super stars,,, but lack of above qualities harmed him,,,,,, well done pakistan ,,, well done KING MISBAH
asif Jul 23, 2012 10:54am
Thanks for the positive comments by our indian friends.
Satyendra Jul 20, 2012 04:43pm
Congrats Pakistan!! Good going!! I'm sure the we will see some close finishes and nail biters in the upcoming series between India and Pakistan !! Wish you all the best!
Sanj Jul 22, 2012 06:49pm
not for long mere fazil dost
Ali Hamid Jul 21, 2012 10:59am
all credit goes to Misbah. He took the charge of a team which was barely able to win a test against any good team. Same team whitewashed World’s number team. Good luck for future endeavours.
Riaz Murtaza Jul 20, 2012 01:20pm
The nation needs good news from our cricket team ! I suggest all High Schools and Colleges in Pakistan should allocate special funds for Cricket, Field Hockey and Soccer ! No miss use or frauds at least in this sector to be tolerated. This can produce good players for the country national teams.
Jehangir Malik Jul 21, 2012 11:15am
an excellent job by our pakistani new talent they need themselves to boost more as younger ones are always here to dominate the cricket in their best possible ways this could be help ful for national team in t 20 wc coming a head
kanan Jul 20, 2012 12:42pm
pakistan zindabad
Mohammed Baluch Jul 20, 2012 05:35pm
Great comment by Riaz. All our school and university going youngsters should get involved in sports, and such activities should have total support of parents, philanthropists, and the government sector. Sports should gradually displace politics as the number one agenda on the daily calendar of our youth - and with time, this would become the guiding spirit and energy of our country.
Ahmed Jul 20, 2012 05:42pm
A very very informative analysis. We need more of the same from all sports analysts as generally our articles on sports are not based on solid analysis. Keep it up. One good example is S. Rajesh on cricinfo, his numbers game is just memerizing and helps really see things in perspective.
jehanzeb Jul 20, 2012 05:57pm
nice information keep it up Mazhar
Hamid Abbasi Jul 20, 2012 09:29pm
ICC ranking is more a statistical gimmick,let us not be boastful.Let our cricketers to work hard earnestly and just pray they are not victimised by PCB politics,Hamid Abbasi
Fakhar Imam Jul 21, 2012 03:44am
Good analysis...
Merchant Jul 21, 2012 04:56am
I wish to see Pakistan among the top cricketing nation. They have a lot of talent what Pakistan need is to select the capable players without nepotism and favouritism. Pakistan is lacking cricket structure at school,college and university level.The department team should be promoted.Regional structure should be on election not selection basis.Region should be advised to send the names of 30 upcoming cricketers to PCB. Board should have evalution comittee to test these cricketers. Next step they should have a fair trial of these cricketers. Final selection of 25 players should be made for the age group of 19-25 years and they should be handed over to our acedamy for further grooming and coaching.Due to this process withjin 3 years we have second team ready to replace existing team.Rotation policy should be adopted to give rest to seniors and at the same time give chance to our youngsters.
obaid Jul 21, 2012 05:17am
haris Jul 21, 2012 07:52am
lol to me thats ridiculous to me if someone thaught all goes according to plan: 1. sa beat eng 2. sa beat aus 3. india beat eng and then pak beat no.1 lol but thanks for sharing useful informationi about the ratings.
islam Khan Jul 21, 2012 01:42pm
There is nothing for ever.
Ajamal Jul 21, 2012 08:39am
Well done Misbah and team mates. This news needs media coverage to boost morale of the nation.
Zero Jul 22, 2012 10:42am
Misbah is the uniting and inspiring force behind this achievement.
umar Jul 21, 2012 08:53pm
nyc article actually !!! thumbs up to author
Shankar Jul 22, 2012 02:02am
Pakistan is the most exciting team with young talent! That they have achieved the fourth spot without the advantage of home series is really commendable! Congrats! With love and affection from India!
Mudassir Hussain Jul 23, 2012 07:10am
I think we need positive intentions and as we are witnessing, positive intentions work wonders!!
Optional Pessimist Jul 23, 2012 07:47am
I have started watching cricket seriously since 1992. It was the world cup. I regret to state that the IFS and BUTS are consistent with us for last 20 years. if someone does something to someone else, we will get some chance. bla bla bla. so sad.
Noman Jul 24, 2012 11:00am
Excellent point. Sports in Pakistan can never progress unless we develop talent at grass root level which is the school/college level. Govt should legislate for not granting licences to mushrooms of private schools unless those include a proper infrastructure for sports activities. It is a shame that a country of more than 16 million is not capable of competing for a single medal in olympics
Fen Jul 30, 2012 02:27am
Any team beating Number One England team 3:0 needs to be saluted,especially Misbah turning the team into winning combination.Even yester year stars were unable to beat England 3:0 and do white wash.Everybody is interested in team outcome,least bothered about personal records.Keep up the good job Misbah!
Maroof Haroon Aug 04, 2012 07:08am
Misbha-ul-Haq is one of the greatest talented captains in the history of Pakistan cricket. Pakistan won most series under the captaincy of Misbha-ul-Haq as compare to past captains.
Kos Aug 05, 2012 05:48pm
I Can only say that Misbah is the best captain in the history of Pakistan cricket and all credit to him also for his solid and reliable batting skills.