LAHORE: Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opener Abdullah Shafique have been rewarded with career-high Test rankings following last week’s superlative performances in the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka.
Pakistan achieved their second highest run-chase when they scored 344 for six with Babar contributing 119 and 55, while Abdullah scoring 13 and a magnificent 160 not out.
In recognition of these performances, Babar has moved up one place to third in the latest ICC Men’s Player Rankings for Test Batters and is now the only player in international cricket to feature in the top-three across all formats, while Abdullah has vaulted 23 places to break into the top-20 for the first time in 16th position.
Babar already heads the ODI and T20I batting charts, while in Tests, he now trails second-ranked Marnus Labuschagne of Australia by 11 points. The list is headed by England’s Joe Root.Abdullah by virtue of his 23-place leap, has now become the third Pakistan batter to feature inside the top-20. Apart from Babar, Mohammad Rizwan is occupying 20th position, while Azhar Ali has slipped six places to 24th and Imam-ul-Haq has dropped three places to 64th.
Amongst the bowlers, Shaheen Shah Afridi has continued his ascendency and has gained one place in the latest rankings following his four wickets in the first Test. The left-arm fast bowler has leapfrogged India’s Jasprit Bumrah into third position on 836 points.This is Shaheen’s career-high ranking and compliments his No.3 position in ODIs and 12th ranking in T20Is.
Hasan Ali and Yasir Shah are the other Pakistan bowlers to move in the right direction. Hasan, who took three wickets in the first Test, has gained one place and is now 13th, while Yasir, who claimed five wickets in his comeback Test, is now 32nd after rising one place.
Mohammad Nawaz, who took five for 88 in the second innings, has returned to Test bowlers’ rankings in 89th position. Amongst the Test all-rounders, Hasan is 26th, Yasir 31st, Shaheen 51st and Nawaz 87th.