17th Test ton against England helps Azhar rise in ICC Test rankings

LAHORE-The International Cricket Council (ICC) 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. 

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, said the information made available here. Azhar come 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 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 the 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. 

England batsman Zak Crawley’s massive 267 and fast bowler James Anderson’s match haul of seven wickets see the duo shoot up in the latest ICC men’s test player rankings after the drawn final Test against Pakistan in Southampton. 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. 

Anderson has moved back to the top-10 after briefly dropping out of it since the preceding home series against the West Indies. The formerly top-ranked bowler has gained six spots to reach eighth position after a Test that saw him grab his 29th five-wicket haul in the first innings and become the first fast bowler to 600 wickets with Azhar Ali’s scalp in the second innings. 

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.

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