ICC Test rankings: Shaheen Afridi breaks into top five for the first time

Pakistan’s premier fast bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi has made it to the top five of the ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings for the first time following a stellar performance against Bangladesh in the first Test in Chattogram.

He bagged seven wickets in the match, including a five-for in the second innings that helped Pakistan win the match by eight wickets.

Afridi moved up three places into the top five surpassing James Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, and Neil Wagner. His teammate Hasan Ali also made a climb, thanks to a seven-wicket haul of his own. He sits just outside the top 10 in 11th, also a career-high.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson has also moved up six places to break into the top ten for the first time. His twin three-wicket hauls against India in Kanpur helped him join teammates Tim Southee (3rd) and Neil Wagner (6th) in the top ten list.

Other bowlers to enjoy marked rankings climbs include India’s Axar Patel (up by seven spots to 28th), Ramesh Mendis (up 28 spots to 57th), and Sajid Khan (up 19 spots to 99th).

On the batting front, Pakistan all-format captain Babar Azam has slipped to the eighth spot after a dismal show in the first Bangladesh Test. He scored, 10 and 13* in a match that Pakistan won by eight wickets thanks to a brilliant batting display from openers.

Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne and New Zealand’s Tom Latham have returned to the top ten after their strong performances against India and the West Indies respectively.

Karunaratne was adjudged Player of the Match in the first Test in Galle with scores of 147 and 83, lifting him four places to seventh, just one below his career-best sixth position attained in August 2019. Sri Lanka teammates Angelo Mathews (up two places to 23rd) and Dinesh Chandimal (up by four places to 46th) also moved upwards.

Latham made half-centuries in both innings of the first Test (95 and 52) to save a draw for the Blackcaps, with teammate Will Young’s 89 in the first innings earning him a 26-place rise to 77th.

India debutant Shreyas Iyer’s Player of the Match effort of 105 and 65 in the Kanpur Test helped him enter the rankings in 74th position, while opener Shubman Gill (up by six places to 66th) and Wriddhiman Saha (up by nine places to 99th) also made notable progress after notching half-centuries.