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Cricket World Cup 2023

Misbah-ul-Haq: Pakistan became the No.1 ODI side by beating Australia and New Zealand’s C and D teams

Pakistan No.1
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq have questioned the hype around Pakistan’s recent No.1 ranking in the ICC Men’s ODI charts, saying they reached the spot after playing weakened teams.

Pakistan climbed to the top of the ICC ODI team rankings for the first time in May 2023 after their series win against New Zealand, and reclaimed the position despite a below-par showing in the Asia Cup last month, where they lost to both India and Sri Lanka. However, they enter the World Cup as the fourth-best side, behind India, England and New Zealand.

However, Akram and Misbah have cautioned against taking the recent climb in the rankings too seriously, saying Pakistan reached the top courtesy of playing against “C and D teams”, and that it should not be the hallmark to measure where the team stands currently.


Discussing the topic on A Sports, Akram said: “What is the big deal about ratings nowadays? No.1 team in the world… England are at No.5, Australia at No.6 [No. 3]. I’m all for it, but it shouldn’t mean that if a season begins in September, and if we are No.1 after a week and a half, then we are happy we are the best team. Stay No.1 for six months, then celebrate.”

Misbah chipped in by saying Pakistan benefited from playing against a number of teams that did not send their full-strength teams to the country. Since the start of 2022, Pakistan have played six bilateral series, winning five. They played a series each against Australia (won 2-1), West Indies (3-0), the Netherlands (3-0) and Afghanistan (3-0), and played two against New Zealand. They lost the first series against the Kiwis 2-1, but won the second series, in April, 4-1.

However, a number of big players from Australia and New Zealand did not tour Pakistan, a result of scheduling conflicts, with players participating in the Indian Premier League.

“New Zealand and Australia came to Pakistan as the top-ranked teams. But they sent their C and D teams. We played against them, they won and our rating points increased. Then we played West Indies and we won against these teams. But, we should consider the real facts. We became No.1 and we became happy that Pakistan are No.1.

“The real fact is Australia’s C team came, and they defeated Pakistan. In another game, they made close to 350 runs [348-8]. Pakistan luckily did well and chased that. We could win only one game convincingly against them. Then New Zealand came. It was their D team, with players who hadn’t even played for three years. Even against them, the games were competitive. We should realise and realistically think about where we stand.

“Pakistan’s best XI is playing, and the rivals are coming with their third-best team and they’re giving us a fight. Ranking doesn’t matter because when you play their full-strength team, they will have the edge.”

Recently, Mohammad Amir had also questioned fans for celebrating the ascension of Babar Azam as the No.1 ranked ODI batter, saying the batter has played a majority of the matches against lower-ranked teams.

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