Azhar Ali rises in ICC Test rankings after 17th Test century
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The International Cricket Council has rewarded Azhar Ali for his excellent century by helping him move in an upward direction in the latest Test player rankings, which were released on Wednesday afternoon.
Azhar, who started the Test in 34th position, has jumped 11 places to become Pakistan’s second highest-ranked batsman after Babar Azam, who has retained his fifth position.
Azhar comes into the third Test with scores of 0, 18 and 20, and carried his bat for 141, which was his 17th Test century in 81 matches. His efforts were unable to save Pakistan from a follow-on, but his side managed to earn a respectable draw as the series ended 1-0 in England’s favour.
Babar Azam scored 11 and 63 not out in the third Southampton Test, but has stayed in fifth position on 797 points. The list is headed by Steve Smith of Australia (911 points), followed by Virat Kohli (886), Marnus Labuschagne (827) and Kane Williamson (812).
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who was adjudged Pakistan’s player of the series, has gained three places and is now in 72nd position. Rizwan scored 53 and added 138 runs for the sixth wicket with Azhar in Pakistan’s first innings score of 273.
Pakistan batsmen slipping in the latest ICC rankings are Asad Shafiq (26th), Shan Masood (29th), Abid Ali (59th), while Fawad Alam is outside the top-100.
In the bowling table, Mohammad Abbas has dropped out of the top-10 after sliding five places to share 13th position with India’s Mohammad Shami. The fast bowler, however, has remained Pakistan’s highest-ranked Test bowler.
Wrist spinner Yasir Shah, who took two for 173, has also slipped one place to 23rd spot, Shaheen Shah Afridi has stayed in 33rd spot and Naseem has dropped to 57th position.
Part-time spinners Fawad Alam and Asad Shafiq are in the top 100 for bowlers. Fawad has gained 22 slots to reach 94th position while Asad has moved up nine places to 100th place.
James Anderson, who dismissed Azhar to become the first fast bowler to capture 600 Test wickets, has moved up to eighth in the list, which is headed by Pat Cummins and followed by Stuart Broad, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Jason Holder.
England batsman Zak Crawley has ascended 53 spots to reach a career-best 28th position after recording the 10th highest individual score for England and their second highest maiden Test century. He had started the series in 95th position but his 320-run aggregate has made him the fourth best ranked England batsman after only eight Tests, behind Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler.
Buttler is another England player to make notable progress in the latest rankings update after scoring a fine 152 in his side’s only innings of the Test. He has reached a career-best 637 rating points and 21st position, three off his best of 18th achieved in November 2018.
All-rounder Ben Stokes has ceded the top spot for all-rounders to Jason Holder after missing two Test matches, dropping one point behind the West Indies captain. For each Test missed, players lose one per cent each of their batting and bowling points with a cumulative effect of about two per cent on a player’s all-round rating.
England close in on Australia in ICC World Test Championship
England could not overtake Australia but have closed the gap with their Ashes rivals in the ICC World Test Championship points table after the drawn third and final Test against Pakistan in Southampton.
England are on 292 points after the 1-0 series win, only four behind second-placed Australia, with whom they drew a five-match series 2-2 early in the nine-team championship. England have completed four series while Australia have played three so far.
England’s other championship engagements saw them beat South Africa 3-1 in a four-match series and the West Indies 2-1 in a three-match series at home last month.
Pakistan are fifth with 166 points, 14 behind New Zealand. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka 1-0 in a two-match series and lost both matches of their other completed series against Australia. They won the first match of their two-Test series at home against Bangladesh, with the second match due for a later leg postponed due to Covid-19.
India continue to lead the table with 360 points from four series.
Each series of the WTC is worth 120 points, distributed evenly over the number of matches in a series. The points range from 60 for each match of a two-Test series to 24 for each match of a five-Test series.