Bishoo, Azhar achieve career-best rankings
Azhar Ali and Devendra Bishoo have achieved career-high rankings in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings, which were released on Tuesday morning following Pakistan’s 56-run victory in the day/night Test in Dubai.
Azhar, who won the player of the match award for his 302 not out, has climbed five places to a career-high 12th position, while Bishoo’s match figures of 10 for 174 have helped him gain 11 places to claim 30th position.
Azhar is the fourth Pakistan batsman after Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan to score a Test triple century. For this achievement, the opener, who played as a wrist spinner in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2002 in New Zealand, has earned 62 points, which, in turn, has also allowed him to move ahead of team-mate Asad Shafiq (16th, down by three places).
Azhar now has his captain Misbah-ul-Haq firmly within his sights, whom he trails by just one point, while Younus Khan remains his side’s highest-ranked batsman in fifth place (slipped one place after dropping one per cent of his points for missing the Dubai Test).
In contrast, by rising 11 places to 30th, Bishoo has opened up a significant lead over team-mate Shannon Gabriel (48th), who is the second highest-ranked West Indies bowler in the series, and captain Jason Holder (61st).
The 30-year-old looks strong to gain further points and edge closer to the top 20 as he is still in the qualification period. A bowler qualifies for a full rating after he has taken 100 wickets, while Bishoo has so far claimed 69 wickets in 19 Tests.
Stylish West Indies batsman Darren Bravo is the other player to make a big impact in the latest rankings.
The 27-year-old left-hander, who played in the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2008 in Malaysia, scored 87 and 116 in the Test in which the West Indies went down fighting.
Consequently, Bravo has returned to the top 20 where he has joined Pakistan’s Sarfaraz Ahmed in 20th position after rising eight places.
Last time Bravo enjoyed a place inside the top 20 was in June 2014, when he figured in 19th position. His career-high ranking remains 15th, which he had achieved against New Zealand in Dunedin in December 2013.
Bravo and Sarfaraz now have an opportunity to improve their rankings as they trail New Zealand’s 19th-ranked Ross Taylor by 13 points.
Marlon Samuels, who scored 76 and four, is the other batsman to head in the right direction. He has moved up five places to 40th, while Pakistan opener Sami Aslam has jumped 19 places to share 58th position with Martin Guptill of New Zealand. Jason Holder is just five points and one place behind the duo of Sami and Guptill.
Steve Smith is the number-one ranked Test batsman and he leads England’s second-ranked Joe Root by 28 points. Hashim Amla of South Africa is third.
Apart from Bishoo, Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz is the other bowler to achieve a career-high ranking to date. The left-arm fast bowler picked up two for 65 and one for 47, and, as such, has moved up three places to 26th.
Mohammad Amir’s three wickets in the second innings have helped him gain four places and 60th position in the latest rankings.
Yasir Shah of Pakistan, who completed 100 wickets in his 17th Test while taking seven wickets in the match, has retained his sixth position but has gained three points for his achievement.
The bowling table is headed by India’s Ravichandran Ashwin, with Dale Steyn of South Africa second and England’s James Anderson third.
Photo caption: Devendra Bishoo picked up a Test-best of 8-49 in the first Test against Pakistan