England, Pakistan players eye improved rankings

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 5 2020
Sports England, Pakistan players eye improved rankings

Pakistan players will be aiming to progress in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings as they revive their campaign in the ICC World Test Championship with a three-match series against England starting in Manchester on Wednesday.

Captain Azhar Ali and vice-captain Babar Azam will be among the players in focus for Pakistan, up against a side that last week completed its first come from behind three-Test series win on home soil since 1888, with players like Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad performing splendidly against the West Indies to make massive gains in the player rankings.

Azhar, presently 27th among batsmen, will be hoping to regain the form that lifted him to sixth in December 2016, while Babar will be hoping to progress from a career-best aggregate of 800 rating points. Babar is currently sixth after having occupied a career-high fifth place in February.

Asad Shafiq (18th) and Shan Masood (33rd) are other Pakistan batsmen to have enjoyed higher rankings in the past, but will have to contend with a sharp bowling attack in order to move up again.

Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas (13th) and experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah (24th), who have in the past been ranked third and first respectively, and left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi (32nd), are other Pakistan players to watch.

For England, Stokes displaced West Indies captain Jason Holder from the top of the all-rounders’ list during their last series and formerly top-ranked Broad rose to third position in the bowlers’ list, currently led by Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins.

Stokes is also England’s top-ranked batsman in fourth position, with captain Joe Root (ninth) and opener Rory Burns (17th) their next batsmen on the list. Dom Sibley (35th), Jos Buttler (44th) and Ollie Pope (46th) get a chance to build on recent progress in home conditions, as do fast bowlers Mark Wood, Sam Curran and Jofra Archer, ranked close to each other from 36th to 39th positions.

In the WTC points table, England moved up to third position after the series against the West Indies and could potentially leapfrog Australia to second place, while Pakistan have the chance of overtaking New Zealand to fourth position.

Apart from the 2-1 win over the West Indies, England drew a five-match series against Australia 2-2 and won a four-match series against South Africa 3-1. Pakistan lost both matches of a two-Test series to Australia, beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in a two-match series and won their first match against Bangladesh at home, with another Test due on a subsequent leg postponed due to Covid-19.

(ICC)



CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 5 2020

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