The Asian powerhouse’s fortunes have dipped massively in Test cricket

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On August 22, 2016, Pakistan rose to no. 1 in the ICC rankings table following India's washed out Test against West Indies in Trinidad. It was the first time Pakistan had become the top-ranked team in Test cricket since the ratings were first introduced.

India, meanwhile, were second in the ICC Test rankings at the time. Pakistan's rise to No. 1 ranking was on the back of a slew of unbeaten series' since August 2014. Pakistan were at No. 6 prior to 2014. They beat Sri Lanka 2-1 in Sri Lanka, won 1-0 in Bangladesh, whitewashed Australia 2-0 in the UAE and further had a 2-2 draw against England in England. Against New Zealand in UAE in November 2014, Pakistan drew 1-1.

This is how the ICC Rankings looked like in August 2016:

The ICC Test table

  1. Pakistan (111 rating points)
  2. India (110)
  3. Australia (108)
  4. England (108)
  5. New Zealand (99)
  6. Sri Lanka (95)
  7. South Africa (92)
  8. West Indies (67)
  9. Bangladesh (57)
  10. Zimbabwe (8)

It's been three years since 2016 and Pakistan have since then had a disastrous period in Test cricket with the captaincy changing hands from the retired Misbah-ul-Haq to Sarfaraz Ahmed to Azhar Ali and senior batsman Younis Khan also retiring.

In 25 Tests after August 2016, Pakistan have won just eight and lost a whopping 16 games. The only teams to lose more in this time frame are England and Bangladesh, although the former have played 16 Tests more than Pakistan.

The only teams with a worse win/loss ratio than Pakistan's 0.5 in this period are Bangladesh (0.352), Zimbabwe (0.16) and newbies Ireland (0).

Read | Is Pakistan’s Naseem Shah really only 16 years old?

Pakistan's demise was on full show at The Gabba against Australia in the first Test of the series. They lost by a whopping margin of an innings and five runs. In Australia, Pakistan last won a Test match in 1995. Since then, they have lost 13 Test matches on the trot including twice by an innings in the last three Tests.

In the 11 series (excluding the ongoing one) since August 2016, Pakistan have won four - twice against West Indies, once against Australia in UAE and a one-off Test (which is also a series) against Ireland. They have also managed two drawn series. Pakistan have not just lost the remaining five Test series but won only one Test match in these five series - against New Zealand (twice), Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. In four of these five Test series, Pakistan were whitewashed.

The detrimental results have seen them drop dramatically in the ICC rankings. They are placed no. 7 in the official Test rankings.

ICC Test Rankings currently:

Ranking

Team

Rating Points

1

India

119

2

New Zealand

109

3

England

104

4

South Africa

102

5

Australia

99

6

Sri Lanka

95

7

Pakistan

84

8

West Indies

80

9

Bangladesh

61

10

Afghanistan

55

11

Zimbabwe

16

12

Ireland

0

With another whitewash in sight, Pakistan will want to redeem the reputation they had in whites under Misbah the captain.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Saeed Khan