LAHORE: Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq was presented with the ICC Test Championship mace by ICC Chief Executive David Richardson at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore today (Wednesday), officially marking Pakistan’s number one Test ranking.
Misbah is the first Pakistani captain to be honoured with the Test mace, which is awarded to the world’s best side in Test cricket. Pakistan became the top Test team for the first time since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003 after drawing the series against England 2-2.
Speaking at the ceremony at Gaddafi stadium, Misbah said it was the proudest moment of his life.
“We beat the world’s best teams to become number one. The nation, the team and I are honoured,” he said.
Misbah congratulated and thanked the entire team on the memorable occasion and said that the feat was a result of hard work and unity. “No captain can achieve success without good players,” he said, adding that it would be a challenge to maintain the top rank but the team was ready to face up to the task.
“We have important matches coming up against West Indies, New Zealand and Australia and we would need to keep up the performance,” Misbah said.
The skipper added that what made this achievement all the more special was the fact that Pakistan had won this feat without playing a single match on its home soil.
He said that all other teams achieve some of the best records playing on their soil and rely on home advantage for an edge, yet Pakistan defeated the best of the best without that advantage.
Pakistan last played a home Test match in 2009 before the security situation in the country forced all international home matches to be shifted to the neutral venue UAE—Pakistan’s adopted home ground.
ICC Chief David Richardson congratulated Misbah and the team on the feat and said the team deserved the mace.
“The ICC Test Championship mace is a symbol of excellence and a recognition of a team’s outstanding performance in the purest format of the game,” the chief said, adding that Pakistan’s top rank was all the more impressive because the team had played all its matches on foreign soil for the past several years.
Pakistan’s ranking was helped by Sri Lanka, which defeated Australia 3-0, while a wet ground in Port of Spain denied India the opportunity to defend the top spot as they won the four-Test series against the West Indies 2-0.
Pakistan currently dominates the rankings with 111 points, one ahead of India. Australia and England meanwhile are on 108 points each, sharing the third spot.