Pakistan’s rise to the No.1 position in ICC test ranking is a feat achieved never before since the inception of ranking system in the year 2003. All knows the amount of hard work and the obstacles overcome in order to achieve it. From controversies to playing home-away-from-home, Captain Misbah-Ul-Haq and his men have seen it all. However, it has been a combination of hard-work, on and off the field, which has led to this accomplishment. There are many players which played a pivotal role in enabling Pakistan to reach where they stand as of now and are unfortunately no longer part of the team for assorted reasons. But thankfully for Misbah and co. what has remained constant is the leadership and its outcomes.
Here is a list of key forgotten players who played a major role in lifting Pakistan to the summit of the ICC test ranking.
1- Saeed Ajmal
Saeed Ajmal’s performances have spun matches around in favor of Pakistan and by all means was a match winner during recent past until his bowling action was illegitimatized. He took a total of 160 wickets at an average of 26.51 during 2010-2014 with a best of 7/55 against England in Dubai in the year 2012. He took a total of 24 wickets in the series against England in UAE and help complete whitewash of then No.1 test team in the world. Another significant performance was against South Africa in Cape Town in 2013 where he took 10 wickets in a match. However Proteas emerged winner in that close encounter.
2- Junaid Khan
Junaid’s performances have been far and few but he was a consistent bowler and always bowling in the right areas. He could swing the ball at pace and troubled the best in the business. Junaid took a total of 71 wickets in 22 matches during 2011-15 at an average of 31.73. Who can forget his menacing spells in India although in a different format. But such was his class!
3- Abdur Rehman
With his slow left arm orthodox, he was Misbah’s secondary weapon to Saeed Ajmal in spin department but was equally lethal. His stats prove how important he was to the balance of Misbah’s XI and played a major role in the 2012 whitewash of England. From 2011-14, Rehman bagged 59 wickets in 14 matches with a best of 6 for 25 against England at Abu Dhabi.
Apart from these, there are many others and to name a few: Taufeeq Umar, Khurram Manzoor, Adnan Akmal, Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed and the list goes on. All contributed in various test matches over the span of time that helped Pakistan evolve into a much stronger test side. Not to forget, the support staff: From Mohsin Khan to Dave Whatmore and Waqar Younis who have all been instrumental in their own capacities in shaping Pakistan as the top side in the world!
Contributed by: Saad Bin Ayaz (@Sady_Sidd)