Pakistan have a chance to climb up the ladder


Pakistan will have one eye on Sri Lanka and the other on the Reliance ICC Test Championship table when it goes head to head against its Asian rival in the three-Test series which starts in Galle on Friday. Pakistan currently sits in fifth position on 108 ratings points while Sri Lanka is in sixth spot on 99 ratings points. If Misbah-ul-Haq’s side wins all the three Tests of the series, it will join Australia on 112 ratings points while in the case of a 2-0 series win it will move up to 111 ratings points.
With no further Test series scheduled for completion before 1 August, the annual Reliance ICC Test Championship update will take place immediately after the conclusion of this series. A 2-0 or 3-0 series win will lift Pakistan’s into second place behind England following the update. However, even if this happens, South Africa would still have the opportunity to overtake both Pakistan and England and reach number-one with a good result in its upcoming series in England. The annual update of the Reliance ICC Test Championship table is carried out so that the list continues to reflect recent form with older results being discarded. This means Pakistan’s 0-0 draw followed by a 0-2 defeat against Sri Lanka in the first half of 2009 will no longer figure in the calculations. The exact table after the annual update will only be confirmed shortly after the conclusion of Sri Lanka and Pakistan Test series on 12 July.
Meanwhile in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, Pakistan’s Younus Khan will be aiming to return into the top three while Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Samaraweera, Azhar Ali and Mahela Jayawardena, who all figure inside the top 20, will also be aiming for upward movements. Younus is currently sitting in fourth position, 22 ratings points behind South Africa’s third-ranked Jacques Kallis while Sangakkara and Samaraweera are fifth and sixth with just seven points separating them and the former trailing the Pakistan batsman by 18 points. Azhar Ali is the second highest-ranked Pakistan batsman after Younus Khan in 12th position. The youngster will have a good opportunity to break into the top 10 for the first time in his career as he trails 10th-ranked Alastair Cook of England by seven ratings points. Sri Lanka captain Jayawardena is in 15th position and can potentially break into the top 10 with a strong performance with the bat. The batting table is headed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies with South Africa’s AB de Villers sitting in second position.
Spinners from either side dominate the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers with Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal occupying second place and Sri Lanka’s left-arm spinner Rangana Herath sitting in fourth spot. Saeed trails number-one ranked Dale Steyn of South Africa by 51 ratings points while the off-spinner leads left-arm spinner Herath by 66 ratings points.
Pakistan’s Abdur Rehman is also currently enjoying his career-best ranking of 10th and given he is still in the qualification period for bowlers, it is likely that he will move further up the ladder depending on how he performs in the Galle Test. Pakistan’s fast bowler Umar Gul is the other bowler inside the top 20 in 16th spot and will be aiming to improve his ranking.
Series schedule:
22-26 June – 1st Test, Galle
30 June-4 July – 2nd Test, Colombo
8-12 July – 3rd Test, Pallekele
Rank Team Ratings
1. England 117
2. South Africa 116
3. Australia 112
4. India 111
5. Pakistan 108
6. Sri Lanka 99
7. West Indies 85
8. New Zealand 85
9. Bangladesh 8