KARACHI: It is going to be a memorable series as all eyes will be on retiring stars Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan during the three-Test contest between Pakistan and West Indies which gets underway with the opening match in Kingston (Jamaica) from Friday (tomorrow).
Both Misbah and Younis — two of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen — have announced plans to quit international cricket after this series. The duo will be aiming to sign off their international careers on a high as Pakistan look to win its first ever Test series in the West Indies.
Younis and Misbah, who have seen individual ranking highs of first and sixth, respectively, have one last chance to help the Pakistan team, which has to win the three-Test series to stay in fifth position in the ICC Test Team Rankings.
Younis, who spent 72 days at the top of the rankings after scoring a triple-century in Karachi against Sri Lanka in February 2009, will be the second-highest ranked batsman in the series at eighth position, just one position behind Pakistan opener Azhar Ali.
Misbah, who remained in the top 15 from November 2011 to December 2016, has a chance to improve his ranking of 26th in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, and as captain, ensure Pakistan do not slip from their current tally of 97 points.
Younis and Misbah have a job at hand since even a 3-0 series sweep will not be enough for Pakistan to overtake England’s tally of 101 points while just a 1-0 series loss will see them slip behind sixth-placed New Zealand, which are on 96 points.
Pakistan, who attained top ranking after drawing a four-match series 2-2 to England in August last year, have slipped since then, losing six of eight Tests. They defeated the West Indies 2-1 in a home series in the United Arab Emirates but subsequently lost 2-0 to New Zealand and 3-0 to Australia in away series.
Pakistan can at best go to 99 points whereas a 3-0 loss could see them slip to 89 points and seventh position in the 10-team table led by India with 122 points. South Africa and Australia are second and third with 109 and 108 points, respectively.
Pakistan batsmen Asad Shafiq (24th) and Sarfraz Ahmed (25th) are the other leading batsmen in the series while leg-spinner Yasir Shah is the top-ranked player from either side in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers with Wahab Riaz at a career-best 19th position.
For the West Indies, Kraigg Brathwaite (20th) and Jermaine Blackwood (46th) are the leading batsmen while leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo would be looking to move further up from his career-best 25th rank among bowlers.