Islamabad - Misbah-ul-Haq has paid credit to his players and their
families for earning Test cricket's No 1 ranking while exiled from playing home
matches for the past seven years.
Having earned the No 1
spot last month, Pakistan's Test captain Misbah was handed the test mace by ICC chief executive David Richardson at
Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.
"It's one of the best days in my life, it's the
happiest day in my cricketing career and I like to congratulate everyone who
has been part of this achievement and part of this journey," Misbah said.
Pakistan has played its 'home' Tests in the United Arab
Emirates since 2009 when Sri Lanka's team came under terrorist attack in Lahore
and other nations subsequently refused to tour Pakistan due to security
"We are playing away matches and are not playing where
we are brought up; even Dubai and Abu Dhabi are foreign soil," Misbah
Zimbabwe is the only Test-playing nation which has toured
Pakistan since 2009, but that was only for a three-match limited-overs series,
also in Lahore, last year.
"Credit should be given to the families," he said.
"The families of the players really sacrificed lot of things ... we have
to play almost 6-7 months out of country and that's difficult."
Misbah, in the twilight of his career at age 42, has been
instrumental in reshaping Pakistan test team, especially after Lord's Test
spot-fixing fiasco in 2010 when three players were banned for five years.
Over the last five years, Misbah became Pakistan's most
successful test captain and also whitewashed both England and Australia in the
test series in the UAE.
Richardson pointed Misbah's captaincy as one of the reasons
for Pakistan achieving Test cricket's No 1 spot for the first time since the
rankings were introduced in 2003. Revised rankings showed Pakistan would also
have been top in 1988 if the current measures were used.
"This is a remarkable achievement given that the last
24 series had all been played away from Pakistan's borders," Richardson said.
"Any player if he can put on his CV that he was part of
the team that was No 1 ranked in Test cricket, that to me will be a pinnacle
achievement for any player."
Pakistan face a stern test to keep its No 1 ranking intact
in the coming months. India is the biggest threat as it could become No 1 if
it beats New Zealand in the three-Test series at home. ICC will award $1
million to the team which stays No 1 on April 1, 2017 and Pakistan has at least
three tough series - against West Indies, New Zealand and Australia - during
"West Indies is unpredictable like Pakistan, they can
be so strong at a given day so we really can't say they are easy side,"
"Then two tough tours. New Zealand has a strong side
especially at home and then Australia ... I hope we can be competitive there
and prove ourselves where normally teams from Asia struggle."
Richardson said it was not in the hands of the ICC to
convince other nations that it's safe to tour Pakistan, but hoped the
government and the Pakistan Cricket Board can convince foreign teams to resume
"Circumstances in the world really have got quite
difficult from a security point of view (and) Pakistan has been probably
hardest hit than any other country," Richadson said.
"It's not me or the ICC that needs to be convinced.
It's the security experts, it's the security consultants who are advising the
players, who are advising the teams and that's really out of our control.
"I know that the Pakistan government and the PCB are
doing whatever they can to try and persuade the people and make security
situation better in Pakistan. Pretty soon we'll get to a situation where teams
are willing to play international cricket in Pakistan."