England climb to No2 in ICC Test rankings following Sri Lanka whitewash

Sport360 staff 17:37 26/11/2018
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England have leapfrogged South Africa in the rankings.

England have climbed to second position in the ICC Test Rankings following their 3-0 clean sweep over Sri Lanka.

Joe Root’s men became the first England side since 1963 to script a 3-0 Test whitewash away from home and have now leapfrogged South Africa to become the No2 ranked team in the world.

England were in third spot behind India and South Africa heading into the series against Sri Lanka and now have a lead of two rating points over the Proteas.

Sri Lanka, who lost all three Tests in a home series for only the third time in their history, have slipped one place in the rankings and now find themselves in seventh spot behind Pakistan.

India continue to maintain their number one status in the team rankings as Virat Kohli’s men get ready to take on Australia in a four-Test series. The Aussies are currently perched in fifth spot in the table but have a chance to make some substantial progress in the coming weeks.

Tim Paine and his men have an outside chance of climbing to the top of the rankings should they blank India 4-0 in the Test series. In such a case, the Aussies will need Pakistan to win or draw at least one Test when they tour South Africa at the end of the year.

However, if Australia whitewash India 4-0 and South Africa manage to blank Pakistan 3-0, then it will be the Proteas who will become the new No1 ranked outfit in the world.

India (120) currently have a 12-point lead over England (108) while South Africa (106), New Zealand (102) and Australia (102) are separated by just four points. Pakistan are some way behind in sixth spot with 95 rating points to their name.

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Sarfraz Ahmed unsure about benefits of having a sports psychologist

Waseem Ahmed 09:00 26/11/2018
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Mickey Arthur and the Pakistan Test squad.

While head coach Mickey Arthur advocated the use of a sports psychologist to aid the team, Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has admitted that it is an alien concept for him.

Arthur had spoken about the issue following Pakistan’s narrow four-run loss to New Zealand in the opening Test at Abu Dhabi while attempting to chase a target of 176 in the final innings.

Post the loss, the Pakistan coach had told ESPNcricinfo, “This is the second time it’s happened in a year, that we’ve lost in a fourth innings chase.”

“This is something we need to overcome as a team. Hopefully the next time we’re in a position to do it, we’ll win it comfortably. I continually discuss with the PCB (the possibility of getting a sports psychologist). We have had discussions around it.”

Arthur (r) has held discussions with the PCB on the matter.

Arthur (r) has held discussions with the PCB on the matter.

The South African coach believes that a sports psychologist will help the team in pressure situations.

Sarfraz said it would be a first for him.

“I have heard about it but I don’t know how he will work with the team. I have never had the chance of working with a sports psychologist but if I do only then can I say how the experience is like. But yes, our batsmen are failing to play long innings and crumble when asked to chase a target,” Sarfraz told PTI.

It remains to be seen whether the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) accedes to Arthur’s demands.

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Zaheer Abbas urges Sarfraz Ahmed to give up Pakistan captaincy in one format

Waseem Ahmed 20:39 25/11/2018
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Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (r).

Batting legend Zaheer Abbas believes Sarfraz Ahmed needs to step down from his Pakistan captaincy in at least one format to relieve some pressure off his shoulders.

The wicketkeeper-batsman is currently leading the Men in Green in all three formats and Abbas feels Sarfraz can improve him performances if he chooses to concentrate on only two formats.

“He (Sarfraz) can’t continue to captain in all three formats. The pressure is too much for him. I think he should himself decide which format he should relinquish the captaincy,” the Pakistan stalwart was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The 71-year-old had only recently undergone a heart procedure and was making his first public appearance since, during the launch of a book at Karachi on Saturday.

“I don’t think Sarfraz can manage being captain and performing in all three formats. Better for him if he decides to just focus on two formats as his performance will also improve,” the former skipper said.

Legend of the game: Zaheer Abbas (r).

Legend of the game: Zaheer Abbas (r).

While Abbas has urged Sarfraz to relinquish his captaincy in one format, former Pakistan skipper and wicketkeeper Moin Khan has thrown his weight behind the 31-year-old.

“Head coach Mickey Arthur has full authority in the team and if the results are not satisfactory he should be questioned as to what went wrong, why Sarfraz all the time,” quipped Moin during the same event.

Sarfraz’s captaincy across three formats has been the subject of debate in recent times. Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) newly constituted cricket committee chairman Mohsin Khan too had recently urged Sarfraz to step down as Test skipper.

Mohsin has since toned down on his views after PCB chief Ehsan Mani backed Sarfraz to lead Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup in England.

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