Babar, Imam claim top two ODI batting spots

LAHORE: For the first time, Pakistan batters are occupying the top two positions in One-day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals as per the latest rankings of teams and players issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday.

In ODIs, captain Babar Azam and compatriot opener Imam-ul-Haq are at the first and second places, respectively, leaving behind India’s batting greats Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma at third and fourth, respectively.

The 26-year-old Imam top-scored in the recently-held three-match ODI series against the West Indies in Multan, amassing 199 runs (three half-centuries) averaging 66.33.

Right-handed Babar in the said series totalled 181 with the help of one century and a half-century, averaging 181.

In the list of ODI bowlers, Pakistan pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi is at the fourth place after taking three wickets from two matches against the Caribbean side in Multan. Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has moved up to number two in the list led by New Zealand’s pace merchant Trent Boult.

In T20 International rankings, Babar and wicket-keeper/batsman Moham­mad Rizwan are occupying the first and second spots, respectively with 818 and 794 points.

In Test rankings for batters, the 27-year-old Babar is fourth with 815 points while in Test bowling rankings Shaheen is fourth (827 points).

Meanwhile, Hazlewood is world’s top-ranked bowler in T20 Internationals, Indian opener Ishan Kishan breaks into top 10 while veteran England batter Joe Root is back at the top of the ICC Men’s Test player rankings after smashing a second successive century in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship series against New Zealand.

The 31-year-old Root, who had reached within striking distance of Marnus Labuschagne after the first Test, has wrested back the top spot from the Australia batter, whom he now leads by five rating points. Root is on 897 points after his knock of 176 in the first innings of the Nottingham Test, 20 less than his highest of 917 points.

Right-handed Root first grabbed number one position in August 2015 and was last at the top in December 2021 before Labuschagne leapfrogged him. Root has been No.1 in Tests for 163 days so far. Steve Smith (1,506 days), Kohli (469 days) and Kane Williamson (245 days) are the others to have had substantial vigils at the top in recent years.

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