Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi climb further up ICC Test rankings ladder

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and young pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi moved up in the Test rankings as the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued fresh rankings Wednesday.

Azam is one step closer in his quest to become the number 1 batter in all three formats of the game after the Pakistan captain moved closer to the top Test ranking.

While Azam already holds top billing in both white-ball formats, he is yet to reach the summit at the Test level and still trails England’s Joe Root.

Root remains clear at the top of the Test list, but Babar rises one spot to third overall and to a career-high rating of 874 points on the back of his tremendous century in the opening Test of Pakistan’s ongoing series against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Babar scored almost 55% of Pakistan’s first-innings runs during that Test, with the right-hander contributing 119 runs to a team score of 218 that ultimately helped the side keep in touch with Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 222.

The in-form captain wasn’t the only Pakistan player to make an eye-catching move on the latest rankings, with star pacer Shaheen Afridi also jumping up a spot on the list for Test bowlers.

Afridi picked up four wickets during the first innings of that Test against Sri Lanka and that catapulted him in front of India quick Jasprit Bumrah and into third on the bowler rankings.

Pakistan opener Abdullah Shafique was named Player of the Match for his match-winning century in the second innings of that Galle Test and that saw him jump 23 spots to 16th overall on the batter rankings with 671 rating points.

Only two batters have had more points after six Tests – Sunil Gavaskar (692) and Donald Bradman (687). Shafique’s 671 points are the most for a Pakistan batter after six Tests, the previous being Saeed Ahmed with 614 points.