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Pakistan awarded ICC Test Championship mace


Lahore : Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq today received the ICC Test Championship mace for leading the side to the top of the ICC Test Team Rankings for the first time since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003.

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson presented the mace to Misbah at the Gaddafi Stadium here and the Pakistan Test skipper said it was befitting that the mace presentation was taking place there.

“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,” said Misbah.

“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,” he added.

Pakistan are only the fifth side after Australia, England, India and South Africa to top the ICC Test rankings, while Misbah is the ninth captain to lift the mace after Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith (all Australia), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India), Andrew Strauss (England), Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla (both South Africa).

Delighted to hold the mace in the twilight of his career, Misbah said: “It has always been a dream to lift an ICC trophy as captain. To be only the ninth international captain to achieve this honour in the traditional format of the game is something to be very proud of. This mace is a reward for the efforts and hard work of each and every individual who has been part of this group over the past few years.”

Richardson congratulated the Pakistan team, saying it was all the more impressive that it had reached the number-one Test ranking despite not being able to play a series at home since March 2009 when terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka cricket team’s bus here.

“The ICC Test Championship mace is a symbol of excellence and a recognition of a side’s outstanding performance in the purest format of the game. Being part of a team that is ranked No.1 in Test cricket is a pinnacle achievement for any cricketer. Pakistan is a deserving recipient of the mace.

“I hope that the team continues to go from strength to strength. A strong Pakistan side is good for international cricket,” Richardson said.

Number two ranked India will host New Zealand in a three-Test series, starting tomorrow, and if they win it, they will move to the top of the table even before Pakistan begin their three-Test series against the West Indies on October 13.

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is best-ranked from either side in third place with 876 points, just two points behind England’s Joe Root in a list led by Australia captain Steve Smith with 906 points.

India’s Ajinkya Rahane is the other batsman in the series inside the top 10 in eighth position, while experienced New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor (14th) and India captain Virat Kohli (16th) will be aiming to break into the top 10.

India will be targeting to seize back the top spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings from arch rival Pakistan by winning the series against New Zealand.

A 1-0 or 2-1 win will take India to 111 points but ahead of Pakistan on decimal points while a 2-0 win will see India clearly ahead at 113 points. A 3-0 win will move it to 115 points. New Zealand, which is currently on 95 points, will remain at seventh position with any of these margins with the maximum drop to 91 points in case it loses all three matches.

A 1-1 series draw will result in India dropping to fourth position on 108 points and New Zealand rising to fifth spot on 97 points.

If New Zealand is able to edge India by 1-0 or 2-1, itwill move to fifth position at 100 points with India one slot ahead on fourth position with 104 points. New Zealand can overtake India to take fourth position only with an improbable 3-0 win.

If India goes to the top of the rankings, it would be doing so for the third time this year and fourth overall.Apart from its short stay at the top in August, it was also top-ranked in January-February this year. Its longest stint at the number-one position was from November 2009 to August 2011.

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