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August 4, 2020

Pak players eye progress in ICC Test Rankings

Sports

August 4, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan players will be aiming to progress in the 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 (tomorrow).

Captain Azhar Ali and vice-captain Babar Azam will be among the players in focus for Pakistan. 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. He 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.

Other Pakistan players to watch are fast bowler M 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).

England’s Ben Stokes displaced West Indies captain Jason Holder from the top of the all-rounders’ list during their last series.

Stuart 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 leapfrog Australia to second place, while Pakistan have the chance of overtaking New Zealand to fourth position.