Saif Ullah Khan
Mohammad Rizwan has stormed into the top-10 of the ICC Player Rankings for T20I Batsmen after another stellar series with the bat. However, his heroics were unable to help his side, cross the line as Pakistan lost an entertaining and thrilling series to England by 2-1.
Rizwan had entered the series in 11th position on 640 points. However, after finishing the series as the leading run-scorer with 176 runs, Rizwan has jumped to seventh position.
Rizwan, for his contributions at an average of 88 and strike-rate of 138.5, was awarded 69 points, which has helped him to leapfrog Rassie van der Russen (South Africa), Martin Guptill (New Zealand), Glenn Maxwell (Australia) and Evin Lewis (West Indies).
Rizwan is now the only wicketkeeper-batsman who features in the top-10. The next highest-ranked wicketkeeper-batsman is Quinton de Kock of South Africa, who occupies 13th position.
Rizwan sits just behind India’s Lokesh Rahul and will now aim to break into the top-five when he takes on world champions West Indies in the five-match T20I series, which starts on 27 July.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who finished as the third leading run-getter with 118 runs at a strike-rate of over 151, has edged closer to number-one ranked Dawid Malan who did enough at Old Trafford while scoring 31 in a winning cause to keep his nose ahead of Babar.
Malan had entered the series leading Babar by 60 points. But the England left-hander slipped from 888 points to 841 points following a series aggregate of 33 runs, while Babar moved from 828 pints to 833 points, meaning the pre-series gap has been reduced to just eight points.
Babar’s next chance to reclaim the No.1 ranking will be in the West Indies where the T20Is will be played in Barbados (27 and 28 July) and Guyana (31 July, 1 and 3 August).
Amongst the Pakistan bowlers, Shaheen Shah Afridi has moved up four places to 13th and now sits just behind Sri Lanka’s 12th-ranked Lakshan Sandakan.
After taking four wickets in the series, Shaheen has moved ahead of Chris Jordon (England), Sheldon Cottrell (West Indies), Washington Sundar (India) and Mark Watt (Scotland).
Like his team-mates, Pakistan’s strike bowler will try to enter the top-10 when he takes on the West Indies.
Meanwhile, the 2-1 series loss means Pakistan squandered an opportunity to improve their T20I ranking. A series win would have helped Pakistan move ahead of New Zealand in third place.
Now, their target of improving their team ranking has become even more difficult as they will need to win all five T20Is to rise to third in team rankings.