Pakistan overtake India, rise to No. 1 ranking in Tests
Pakistan’s Test team clinched the number one spot in the ICC Test rankings after the rain-hit fourth and last Test between the West Indies and India ended as a draw.
The Trinidad Test match wash out cost India dear as Pakistan replaced them at the top of the ICC Test rankings, reaching the coveted position. This is the second time that Pakistan has climbed to the number one position, the last time being 28-year-ago.
A wet outfield prevented play on the last four days after only 22 overs could be bowled on the opening day of the match. The washout denied India the opportunity to defend the top spot which they had reclaimed from Australia last week.
The Virat Kohli-led India side needed to win the series with a margin of at least 0-3 to retain their status as top Test side after Australia, captained by Steven Smith, was whitewashed by Sri Lanka 3-0 earlier this month.
India clinched the series against West Indies by a 2-0 margin, finishing on 110 points — one behind Pakistan and two ahead of third-ranked Australia.
India had entered the series on 112 points, 44 points ahead of eighth-ranked West Indies. And because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, India’s failure to win by a better margin has resulted in it dropping two points and the West Indies earning two points.
“There is no greater feeling than to achieve the number-one ranking in the most traditional and purest format of the sport. This is what cricketers play for and want to achieve in their careers,” Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said.
“For us, the number-one 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. If we can achieve these on a consistent basis, then I am sure there will more laurels like this down the line,” he added.
Pakistan becomes only the fifth team after Australia, England, India and South Africa to top the ICC Test rankings since these were introduced in 2003.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated Pakistan on achieving the number-one Test ranking.
“The number-one ranking is well deserved and a testament to the quality of cricket the team has consistently played over the past few years. The past few weeks of Test cricket have been incredibly absorbing with some high-quality competitive series being played, exhibiting what is so special about Test cricket,” the ICC Chief Executive said.
The battle for the number-one ranking between the two traditional rivals will resume next month when New Zealand visit India and Pakistan host the West Indies in the UAE.
Both the series will be three-Test rubbers.
The rankings system
The current Test ranking – known as the ICC Test Championship – encapsulates top 10 Test nations.
In the 157 months since the current system’s introduction Australia, (number one in three stretches totaling 81 months or over 51 percent of the time), South Africa (thrice, totaling 42 months) and India (twice, totaling 21 months) have primarily outshone.
Pakistan, however, featured as a top team for only two months nearly three decades ago.