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Pakistan at the top

Babar Azam leads from the front and takes the Greenshirts to the pinnacle in international ODI rankings

September 03, 2023

Pakistan cricket team reclaimed the number one position in the ICC official ODI rankings after a comfortable win against Afghanistan last week. It was the second time since the introduction of ICC’s official team ranking system in 2005 that the Green-shirts reached the top position.

In 2016, Pakistan team under Misbah-ul-Haq also achieved the top position in the ICC Test team ranking.

The men in green continued their superb form in the ODI series against Afghanistan. In ODIs, Pakistan overtook Australia, who were the No. 1 before. Prior to the Afghanistan series, Australia were at the top of the ranking tables with 118 rating points while Pakistan were placed second with 115.8 rating points.

After the series win, Pakistan moved to the top position with 118.48 rating points while Australia dropped to the second place.

India, who recently defeated West Indies 2-1 in an ODI series, are third.

The Green-shirts have dominated in the ODI format over the last year. In the 2022 season, they whitewashed West Indies and Netherlands 3-0. They followed this up with a 2-1 series win over New Zealand at home in January 2023.

The Black Caps then returned for a five-game ODI contest in April. Pakistan managed to win the series 4-1.

With the ongoing Asia Cup and other ODI contests in the build up to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, there remains room for movement among the top three: Pakistan, Australia and India.

The journey to become the world’s top-ranked ODI team has been marked by a series of strategic decisions, disciplined training, and awe-inspiring performances.

The emergence of exceptionally talented batsmen, combined with the seasoned expertise of experienced players, has resulted in a well-rounded and formidable batting unit. The team’s ability to adapt to different conditions and opposition strategies has been instrumental in their rise to the top.

Pakistan boasts a rich legacy of producing world-class fast bowlers. From Fazal Mahmood to Shaheen Shah Afridi, there is a long list of great fast bowlers produced by Pakistan. They deliver thunderous spells capable of dismantling even the most resolute batting lineups. The bowlers’ ability to swing the ball both ways, extract pace and bounce from the wickets, and execute precise yorkers has been pivotal in clinching victories for the team.

Effective leadership has played a significant role in the team’s success. A captain’s strategic acumen, decision-making skills, and the ability to inspire the team are crucial factors that contribute to a team’s rise. Pakistan’s recent achievements owe a debt to the strong leadership of their captain Babar Azam whose vision and tactical insights have provided direction during critical moments.

The Pakistan cricket team’s triumph isn’t just about individual brilliance; it’s a testament to the strength of their collective spirit. A united team, marked by mutual respect and camaraderie, can weather any storm. The players’ unwavering support for each other, both on and off the field, has created an environment conducive to success.

The team’s elevation to the number one spot in the ODI rankings carries profound implications for cricket in Pakistan. Beyond the accolades and recognition, this achievement will likely inspire a new generation of cricketers to dream big and work diligently to follow in their heroes’ footsteps.

Babar is the number one batsman in the ICC ODI players ranking with 880 points while the second-placed South Africa’s H.E. van der Dussen is far behind with 777 points.

Babar has been in remarkable form in recent times. Babar has the most runs in the first 100 ODIs. He scored 5142 in his 100 ODIs.

Babar reached 4000 runs in his 81st innings and it took him only 16 innings to cross the next 1000 runs.

Former South African batsman Hashim Amla scored 4946 runs in his first 100 ODI innings. Sir Vivian Richard is placed in the third position with 4607 runs.

He also became the 14th Pakistani batter to go past 5000 ODI runs. The Pakistan skipper achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the fastest cricketer to score 5000 ODI runs. He reached the landmark in his 97th ODI innings on Friday, 5th May, while playing against New Zealand and became the first batsman to reach 5000 run-mark before 100 ODIs. He sailed past elite cricketers like Vivian Richards (114 innings), Virat Kohli (114 innings), and David Warner (115 innings).

During the first match of the Asia Cup against Nepal in Multan, Babar also became the fastest player in ODI history to score 19 centuries in his 102nd match. Amla reached 19 centuries in 104 innings and Indian legend Virat Kohli in 124 innings.